New Delhi, June 24 : A third of Nepal's population faces risk of suffering from Kala-azar - a chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease of the viscera with figures going up from 5,616,489 in 2006 to 8,007,323 in 2007, says a new report.
With 5,616,489 people reporting the disease, also known as black fever, in 2006, the numbers had gone to 8,007,323 in 2007, local newspaper The Himalayan Times quoted a government report.
In 2001, some 5,500,113 persons were at the risk of this disease, the report published by the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Nepal said.
Earlier, the disease, which is spread by sand flies, was prevalent in southern Nepal's Terai plains but these days the disease has been found in the hilly region in the country's north too.
In the last three years, Nepal and its neighbors India and Bangladesh have jointly agreed to eradicate Kala-azar by 2015 and several donors have pledged and invested more than 40 million Nepali rupees in Nepal only, but surprisingly the number of Kala-azar patients and people vulnerable to the disease has been constantly rising.
Special anti-Kala-azar projects are underway in 12 districts mainly in the south of Nepal's 75 districts, National Program Director of Communicable Disease branch of EDCD, Dr. Garib Das Thakur said.
"New Kala-azar patients have been reported in nine hilly districts including Dhankuta, Bhojpur, Khotang, Ilam, Okhaldhunga, Surkhet, Palpa, Kanchanpur and Rukum," Xinhua quoted The Himalayan Times, as stating him.
"Why the Kala-azar is being reported in the hilly region is a serious matter and needs investigation," Dr. Suman Rijal, member of a World Health Organization committee to investigate the communicable diseases, said.