Black Fever Kala Azar: Over 65 cases of Black Fever reported in West Bengal-Know Kala Azar Symptoms, Causes

What is Kala Azar? Kala Azar is called Black Fever due to grayish discoloration or darkening of skin that is commonly seen in the face, hands and feet of patients infected with the disease. 


At least 65 cases of Black Fever reported in West Bengal
At least 65 cases of Black Fever reported in West Bengal

Black Fever Kala Azar: At least 65 cases of Black Fever or 'Kala Azar' have been reported in 11 districts across West Bengal in the past weeks. The highest number of Kala Azar cases have been reported from Darjeeling, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Kalimpong districts.

A state official confirmed that a recent surveillance has led to the detection of 65 cases of Black Fever in 11 districts of West Bengal. He said that the now that the Kala Azar cases have been reported, the state administration will be able to tackle the spread of the disease. 

The Black Fever Kala Azar disease was found to be most prevalent in those people who have spent considerable amount of time in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Some people from Bangladesh have also been showing Kala Azar symptoms. The state administration is expected to continue track other patients as well. 

As per the official, a few cases have been reported from Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia and Birbhum districts as well. 

What causes Black Fever?

Black Fever or Kala-azar is caused by the parasite, Leishmania donovani. The disease is transmitted through the bite of the sand fly Phlebotomine argentipus. 

Black Fever Kala Azar Symptoms

The main symptoms of Kala Azar include -

-Grayish discoloration of the skin




-Enlargement of spleen 

-Enlargement of Liver 

-Weight loss

-The chronic cases lead to darkening of the skin. 

Is Kala Azar common in India?

Kala-azar is a substantial public health problem in India, as it is present in almost 54 districts across four Indian states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Kala Azar is a vector-borne infectious disease that largely affects communities living in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. 

Which state is most affected by Kala Azar?

Bihar is the most affected state by Kala Azar, as it has the highest prevalence of the disease. Kala Azar is found in almost 33 out of 38 districts in Bihar. The second most affected state is West Bengal with cases reports from 11 districts out of the total 23 districts. 

Black Fever Kala Azar is reported in 6 out of 75 districts in UP and 4 out of total 24 districts in Jharkhand. 

Why kala-azar is called black fever?

Kala Azar is called Black Fever due to grayish discoloration or darkening of skin that is commonly seen in the face, hands and feet of patients infected with the disease. 

What is used in treatment of kala-azar?

The treatment of Kala Azar involves killing of the parasite with effective drugs.

Is kala-azar a communicable disease?

Yes, Kala Azar of leishmaniasis is a communicable parasitic disease that is spread by the bite of infected sand flies. While there are different forms of leishmaniasis in people, cutaneous leishmaniasis is a prevalent communicable disease in low- and middle-income countries. 

Is Kala Azar Caused by Protozoa?

Yes, Kala Azar is caused by a protozoa parasite from over 20 Leishmania species. There are over 90 sand fly species that are known to transmit the Leishmania parasites. 

There are three main forms of the disease-

Visceral leishmaniasis: This form of Leishmaniasis is also known as Kala Azar. It is fatal if left untreated. 

Cutaneous leishmaniasis: This is the most common form of leishmaniasis and it causes skin lesions or ulcers on exposed body parts, leaving life-long scars. 

Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis: This leads to partial or total destruction of mucus membranes of the mouth, nose and throat. 

Is Kala Azar fatal?

Kala Azar or Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is fatal if left untreated in over 95 percent of the cases. It is one of the top parasitic diseases with outbreak and mortality potential.

Where is Visceral leishmaniasis found?

Visceral leishmaniasis mostly occurs in India, Brazil and East Africa. Around 50000 to 90000 new cases of Kala Azar are reported from across the globe annually. 

In which city was the parasite of kala-azar first identified?

Kala Azar was first identified in Jessore in 1824 by western doctors. The place is presently located in Bangladesh. The disease was initially thought to be a form of malaria.


The Union government has set the goal of reducing Kala Azar cases to less than one per 10,000 population at block level to completely eradicate the disease. The disease was almost eradicated from West Bengal till recent surveillance revealed 65 cases in 11 districts. 

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Where are sandflies found?

Sand flies are usually found in caves, rock crevices and rodent burrows. They usually rest in cool, dark and humid corners of animal shelters or houses. 

What is Sand Fly?

Sand flies are small insects, about 1.5-3.5 mm in length. They are about one fourth of a mosquito and have large black eyes, a hairy appearance and long, stilt-like legs. 

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