The Department of Health and Family Welfare will distribute diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) and albendazole tablets to 11,53,592 people in Udupi district under the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programme on February 12 to prevent the spread of lymphatic filariasis.

District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy told presspersons here on Friday that except children aged below two, pregnant women, aged persons and seriously ill patients, the rest should take these tablets. They would be provided free of cost by the department.

One DEC tablet of 100 mg should be given to children aged between two and five, two DEC tablets of 100 mg each to children aged between six and 14, and three tablets of 100 mg each to those aged above 15. The DEC tablets should be taken after food. All persons aged above two would also be given one albendazole tablet each, which should be chewed and not swallowed, he said.

These tablets would be available in all primary health centres and community health centres, and 325 health sub-centres. As many as 2,358 booths would be set up throughout the district, and 5,000 volunteers would help in distributing these tablets. Some may experience side-effects such as vomiting and drowsiness after consuming DEC tablets. To deal with such problems, the department had formed 84 side reaction management teams. The department would distribute the tablets on February 13 and 14 to those left out on February 12, he said.

He said 804 cases of lymphatic filariasis had been recorded in Udupi district in the past nine years.

They included 507 cases in Udupi taluk, 210 in Kundapur taluk, and 87 cases in Karkala taluk. The MDA campaign would be inaugurated at the District Government Hospital here by president of the zilla panchayat Upendra Nayak on February 12, Dr. Bairy said.