An Appeal to Noida Authority – Swachh Noida essential to save our children from Hathipaon or Filariasis

Col P Chandra (Retd)

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Bill Gates had published an article in Times of India on 17 November 2017. It is a very revealing article and shows how important it is to maintain cleanliness all around to control mosquito breeding.

India has been trying to stamp out Elephantiasis which is also known as Hathipaon (elephant leg) in common parlance. We have been planning to eradicate this decease by 2020 as per our National Health Policy. It causes limbs (usually legs and hydrocele) to swell enormously. It causes disfigurement and in some cases disability also. It is caused by coiled and threadlike parasitic worms. The worms produce minute larvae which enters a person’s blood stream. UP, Bihar and many states along India’s coastline are worst affected by this disease.

This disease is transmitted through mosquito bite. It gets passed to another person when mosquito bites an infected person. A person with these larvae in his blood can appear healthy but he remains a transmitter of hathipaon disease. The larvae develop into a worm and can remain inside a person for up to 8 years. They keep damaging the lymphatic system of the host person.

The infection usually occurs in early childhood. So children are more likely to contract this disease from mosquito bite. A study was conducted in Odisha’s Khordha district. Children between age group of 5 to 18 were screened for filariasis caused by these larvae. The study looked for damage to lymphatic system in children. Around 40% children showed damage to lymphatic system. The study also indicates that it is highly likely that these children won’t have the strength and stamina to excel in sports. This study was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has been published in PLOS Journal in October 2917.

Above mentioned study goes to show that it is very important to keep the drains clean and to remove all sources of stagnant water. Mosquitoes do not cause malaria only. They cause a host of other diseases. Our children are at higher risk of damage to health due to these breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies. Noida Authority should be very serious about keeping all the drains clean and covered, especially those in residential areas. Special attention should be paid to areas where water stagnates and becomes a serious health hazard.

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