With no fresh cases reported in the past three years, Madurai district is well on the path of eradicating filariasis (called as ‘yaanai kaal' in Tamil).
A sustained surveillance by entomologists and health officials in pockets prone to filariasis has yielded good results as not a single fresh case has been reported in the district.
The only village where persons with filariasis are living is Puliampatti in T. Kallupatti block and officials have taken steps to cut the vector transmission.
“We have carried out mass drug administration in Puliampatti on April 29. This is the only pocket endemic to vector borne filariasis,” Latha Freeda Joan, District Malaria Officer, told The Hindu on Wednesday. She said that intensive campaign has been taken up across the district as part of the State Government's drive against the disease. While the total population in Puliampatti is 1,079, the public health enumerators had identified 755 as ‘target population' for mass drug administration and free tablets were given for persons from 2 to 60 years of age. “Filariasis is not a life threatening disease and it will not cripple a person if specific treatment is given early. There is a surgical option too available for serious cases,” Ms. Joan said.
After tablets were given in Puliampatti last Sunday, health officials carried out door-to-door verification to identify those who missed the coverage. It was found that only one family did not get the tablets and it was covered on Wednesday. The District Malaria Officer expressed confidence that Madurai will be filariasis-free soon as the micro filarial rate is now nil and fresh cases have not been reported in the last three years. “The target of Indian Government is to eradicate filariasis by 2015 and the World Health Organisation's target for complete eradication is 2020. Our district is well on that path.”
According to her, there are 16 affected persons in Pulaimpatti who are now being motivated to go for surgery but somehow they are hesitant.