Visceral leishmaniasis or Kala-azar is spread by sand flies through many areas of India, particularly the north. This disease also occurs in Africa, South America, Asia and parts of Mediterranean Europe.


Kala-Azar is characterised by a high fever which can persist for long periods and is very debilitating. Symptoms may also include a feeling of general malaise, muscle and stomach pains, loss of appetite, and diarrhoea. After months of infection the skin becomes grey and scaly, hence the name Kala-azar which means “black disease”.


There is no vaccine or preventative drug available so effective insect bite avoidance is essential.