The health department has vowed to eradicate kala-azar in the district by 2015 with sustained efforts to wipe out sand flies, the carrier of the disease.
Kala-azar has struck close to 20 million people in 12 north Bihar districts since the 1990s. Huge number of deaths, particularly in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur and Vaishali, has called for intervention of the central and state governments for continued efforts to eradicate the menace.
Sources said intensive spraying of the insecticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) for the past three years has started to pay off. According to the norms of the health department, if one of 10,000 people in a particular area suffers from kala-azar, it is not considered serious. Till August this year, 734 patients in Muzaffarpur, which has a population of around 50 lakh, were afflicted by kala-azar.
Chief medical officer-cum-civil surgeon Gyan Bhushan said: “The number of patients afflicted by kala-azar is falling rapidly. It will be safe to say that it would be completely wiped out by 2014 or 2015 in Muzaffarpur.”
District malaria officer, Muzaffarpur, Bhagirath Prasad told The Telegraph: “Twice a year, DDT is sprayed at places in Muzaffarpur where presence of sand fly has been detected over the past three years. The district has also been following the guidelines outlined by the National Malaria Eradication Programme and the health department to ensure total eradication of kala-azar. They include following a protocol for treatment and maintaining sanitation and hygienic standards.”
He added that experts of National Malaria Eradication Programme are expected to visit Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali and other districts of north Bihar in September to monitor efforts taken by the health department to wipe out kala-azar.