Neglected Tropical Disease
Leishmaniasisis (Kala-azar) is caused by a parasite transmitted by sand flies that often live in mud walls of homes. The disease is usually found among the poorest populations and is most prevalent in the northwestern part of the country. A new oral drug, Miltefosine, can now cure the disease however a counterfeit, substandard generic is often available in through the nationwide treatment program.
Local drug regulations and supply monitoring must happen in order to eradicate this disease. Lymphatic filariasis (“elephantiasis”) is caused by infection with roundworms after transmission via mosquito bite. Adult worms lodge in human lymph nodes and disrupt the immune system. The disease causes local infections, tremendous swelling of lymph nodes, disfiguration and pain. Inexpensive medicines can cure the disease, and mass single-dose drug administration campaigns are run to help eliminate the disease in at-risk endemic communities.
Leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis occur disproportionately in Bangladesh. Ninety percent of visceral leishmaniasis cases occur in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sudan, Ethiopia and Brazil. In 2010, there were 3,800 cases of visceral leishmaniasis reported in Bangladesh alone out of a global total of approximately 1.5 million. Approximately 20 million people in Bangladesh suffer from lymphatic filariasis yet closer to 70 million people are at risk of infection as it is highly endemic in 33 out of 64 districts. It is considered a major public health issue in country.
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