World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is observed from November 18 to 24 every year, to shed light on the rising incidence of drug-resistant germs and initiate global healthcare practices to effectively treat microbe-induced ailments. The chief objective of this crucial wellness campaign is to halt further instances of proven medications being insufficient in curing infectious diseases like malaria, rabies, dengue etc.
This global health day is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with two other worldwide central governing bodies, together referred to as the Tripartite Organizations. The other two associations are the Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and World Organisation For Animal Health (abbreviated as OIE, from its former title - Office International Des Epizooties). Previously designated as World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the three principal administrations – WHO, FAO and OIE, decided to rename the central health event as World Antimicrobial Awareness Week beginning from the year 2020, to encompass all pathogenic microbes. These comprise bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) refers to a circumstance in which the causative microorganism of the disease strengthens itself and acquires the power to counterattack the medications – antimicrobials (antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitic drugs) being taken to defeat them. This, in turn, poses challenges in properly rectifying the infectious ailment plaguing people, as well as heightens the possibility of rampant transmission of disease, debilitating illness and death. Keeping this dangerous trait of disease-causing microbes in mind, the theme for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020 is “United To Preserve Antimicrobials”. This indicates the urgent need to amplify the efficacy of available medicines i.e. antimicrobials, for sicknesses triggered by microorganisms, curb overuse of drugs to prevent antimicrobial resistance and improve personal hygiene, sanitizing measures.
The Global Burden Of Disease Study revealed alarming findings that India had the maximum number and most severe cases of 11 neglected tropical diseases – Ascariasis, Hookworm Infection, Trichuriasis, Dengue Fever, Lymphatic Filariasis, Trachoma, Cysticercosis, Leprosy, Echinococcosis, Visceral Leishmaniasis and Rabies. All of these are infectious conditions prompted by harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites and hence can be remedied only by appropriate antibiotics, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic drugs. Read on, to find out salient details about the five most ubiquitous maladies from this list– ascariasis, hookworm infection, trichuriasis, dengue fever and lymphatic filariasis, to cultivate public awareness, treat them effectually and avert the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance.
Top 5 Widespread Neglected Tropical Diseases In India:
This disease hampers the operation of the small intestines, owing to parasitic infection by Ascaris lumbricoides, which is one species of roundworm. People develop this illness through contaminated food and drinking water. Symptoms comprise nausea, vomiting, impediments in intestinal passages, loose stools and reduced appetite.
Treatment involves taking prescription antiparasitic drugs in the right dosage as advised by the doctor.
A grave disorder instigated by hookworms, a type of blood-sucking parasitic roundworms, the two main causative species of which are Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale. This infectious ailment spreads by direct contact with mud, soiled food or water containing the hookworm larvae. Intense abdominal aching, along with stomach cramps and discharge of bloody stool are the defining signs.
Primarily, antiparasitic drugs are prescribed by the physician, to resolve hookworm infections.
Also known as whipworm infection, trichuriasis is prompted by the microbe Trichuris trichiura, a form of parasitic worm. People contract trichuriasis by directly touching dirt, food or water polluted with the whipworms or their eggs. Mostly infesting the large intestine, the indications of this sickness include painful elimination of faecal matter, nausea, vomiting, headaches and diarrhoea with blood release.
Taking antiparasitic medicines prescribed by the healthcare provider flushes out deleterious whipworms from the gastrointestinal tract.
A very common mosquito-borne illness particularly in the monsoon season, dengue fever arises from dengue viruses carried by the female Aedes mosquito. Since mosquitoes breed in puddles of water that collect near homes in rainy weather, especially in tropical countries, the viral infectious disease spreads principally in this manner. Symptoms include high fever, body pain, headache, fatigue and skin rashes.
A specific antiviral cure for dengue fever is yet to be discovered, with treatment measures focusing on medicines to mitigate discomforting symptoms and allay fevers, persistent migraines and muscle strains.
Widely referred to as elephantiasis, due to the massive swelling in legs of afflicted people, lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic infection triggered by nematodes i.e. roundworms belonging to the Filariodidea family, namely Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. Adult worms invade the lymph nodes and destroy the normal functioning of the lymphatic system. This disease is transmitted by Culex, Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes that carry the filarial parasites. Besides prominent enlargement of legs, distinguishing signs consist of kidney damage, lowered immunity and collapse of lymph vessels.
Prescription anthelminthic or antiparasitic drugs are recommended to be taken on a stringent dosage, as advised by the medical expert, to expel the parasites and restore lymphatic functions.