BHUBANESWAR: Almost eliminated a decade ago, leprosy is now back in Odisha. The Hansen’s disease, a long-term infection by the bacteria Mycobacterium lepromatosis, is now prevalent in 18 districts of the state. The National Health Profile (NHP) 2019 released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says leprosy prevalence rate in Odisha is second highest in the country after Chhattisgarh.
From a prevalence of less than one (per 10,000 population) in 2006, it now stands at 1.39 against the national average of 0.65. Six districts have recorded the annual new case detection rate of more than 50 per one lakh population. The leprosy prevalence rate in Chhattisgarh is 2.04. While Bihar and Jharkhand have the prevalence of greater than one, all other states have achieved the elimination target.
A prevalence less than one indicates a state of ‘elimination’ of the disease and it ceases to be a public health problem.
According to NHP, as many as 8,754 new cases of leprosy have been detected in Odisha in 2018 and 6,445 persons are under multi-drug therapy. Though death due to malaria has come down, in terms of cases, the state is at no. 2 position after Chhattisgarh, which has reported highest 77,140 cases and 26 deaths last year in the country. Odisha has recorded 66,301 malaria positive cases and four deaths.
The state continued to remain at the top in malaria cases in the country for the last four years. It reported 3,95,035 cases and 89 deaths in 2014, 4,36,850 cases and 80 deaths in 2015, 4,44,843 cases and 77 deaths in 2016 and 3,47,860 cases and 24 deaths in 2017.
Apart from leprosy and malaria, Odisha is also at the risk of acute diarrhoeal disease and viral hepatitis and one among top five States having high cases of diarrhoea and jaundice. While 7,28,243 people had suffered from acute diarrhoeal disease leading to death of 110 persons in 2017, of 6,00,595 cases last year, 75 succumbed to the disease.
Similarly, 1,809 viral hepatitis cases and 13 deaths were reported in 2018 against 3,069 cases and 39 deaths in 2017. Though 1,720 cases of acute encephalitis syndrome reported last year was highest in the last four years, number of deaths due to the disease has come down from 115 in 2016 to 10 in 2018.
The state is also witnessing accelerating rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, blood pressure and cancer. Of 5,52,450 people screened at NCD clinics, 92,783 were detected with diabetes, 1,18,978 with hypertension, 5,487 with cardiovascular diseases, 2,050 with strokes and 1,457 people with common cancer.