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Puducherry free from filariasis

Kavita Kishore
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Filaria testing being done for a school student in Puducherry on Wednesday.— Photo: T.Singaravelou
Filaria testing being done for a school student in Puducherry on Wednesday.— Photo: T.Singaravelou

Following a survey conducted by the Health Department along with the Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry has been officially declared free from lymphatic filaria.

Out of a total of 1,570 blood samples taken from children between the age of six and seven, there were two cases that tested positive for microfilaria.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, when an area has up to 16 positive cases in 1,570 samples, it is below normal and can be declared filaria-free, Assistant Director (Malaria) T. Kalimuthu told The Hindu .

Since 2004, Puducherry has been administering anti-filaria drugs and for the last three years, surveys have revealed below normal prevalence of micro filaria. In the case of surveys in the general public, the normal is taken to be one case per 1,000.

These results were presented to the WHO at the South East Asian Conference held last year, after which the WHO gave permission to conduct a survey among schoolchildren between the ages of six and seven to test for prevalence, Dr. Kalimuthu said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, teams from the Health Department tested 1,570 children from 30 schools across Puducherry.

The staff received training on administering the test on Monday after which they proceeded with the survey, he said.

The results of this test would help to determine the future of mass drug administration campaign in Puducherry.

The current survey was only conducted in Puducherry region. The Health Department has planned to conduct a similar survey in Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam in June.

“As examinations are taking place in these areas, it is better to postpone the survey,” Dr. Kalimuthu said.

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