Nature India | Indigenus

Deadly bugs

Recovering slowly after a particularly stressful battle with dengue, I am told that I should be thankful I got the virus this year. Reason: the virus circulating this year in the national capital region of Delhi is far less virulent than its cousin from last year. “If you came with dengue last year, we would have had a tougher time managing it,” the attending doctor said by way of comforting my weak body and soul.

Well, whatever they say about first hand experience is true. After having reported for ages on vector-borne diseases, the first brush with a near-fatal condition has left me more interested in the bugs scene in the national capital region of India, in particular, and in this country in general — teeming with a variety of these tiny winged creatures this time of the year. Dengue is now commonplace in the National Capital Region of Delhi. People don’t get shocked to hear they have dengue — it has now become a ‘manageable disease’, like malaria.

The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme has a tough time during these seasonal spurts in cases of dengue, malaria, chikungunya and Japanese encephelitis.

Amidst all this distress, we now have a new study reporting that Leishmania donovani, the bug causing Kala-azar, is showing significant genetic diversity in the state of Bihar making it more drug resistant and widely prevalent in that part of the country. Incidentally, Bihar accounts for 90% of all cases in Asia due to ignorance, poverty, and low treatment compliance.

I seem to be hearing about new bugs every season. Have you been too?


  1. Report this comment

    Khushboo Nagdev said:

    It looks like that when a disease seems “manageable” by the people, the pathogen becomes “less virulent”.

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    Frank Buurman said:

    The enormous extent to which bugs are responsible for spreading diseases is becoming clearer and clearer. Many other animals also play these role. But that insight won’t help us. We cannot poison all animals and bacteria. In trying to do that, the problem is worsening. Whenever possible, we have to go ‘the natural way’ in fighting the bugs, and by promoting our own resistance power.