Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE: The district Health and Family Welfare Department is gearing up for the “National Anti-Filaria Day” to be observed on November 11.

The department has launched a filaria detection campaign under which the officials will be collecting blood samples from people across the district.

District Health Officer H. Jagannath said that the blood samples would be tested for the presence of filarial-causing bacteria, which would help the officials to map the spread and prevalence of the disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

The blood samples were being collected from individual houses, he said and added that the department wanted to cover a large area under the programme.

The collection of blood samples would conclude on November 11 when the main programme of mass drug administration would be launched. Under this programme, the Di-ethyl-carbamazine (DEC) would be distributed en-masse. On the first day of the three-day programme, the department hopes to administer the drug to over 15 lakh people.

Dr. Jagannath said that DEC was not a vaccine. While the vaccines such as the one administered for polio made a person immune to the disease, the DEC would ensure that the disease did not spread to another person. “It is a circuit breaker,” he said.

On the big day, the health workers would visit every small village in the district and administer the DEC to maximum number of people, Dr. Jagannath said.

Those who might miss out during the drive could consult their family doctors and take the medicine. Three tablets should be taken at-a-time by an adult as a one-time complete dose. People suffering from debilitating illnesses and children below two years should not take the tablet, Dr. Jagannath said.