KARAK: The district of Karak is plagued by Leishmaniasis disease, with hundreds of cases have reported but no efforts are made by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department to counter it.

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by parasites of the Leishmania type and spread by the bite of certain types of sand flies. The whole district is reportedly plagued by sand flies and people are being bitten leaving them with skin lesions. The bite mark leaves a scar on the body of the victims and also afflict them with headaches and fever.

The sand flies have bitten a number of children and as per details, some 250 cases were reported from Union Council Narai and 460 cases from Latambar area which also includes women and old age persons.

The symptoms related to the bite include skin sores, which occur after weeks or months after an individual is bitten. The locals expressed the fear of its spread and asked the provincial health department to make prompt efforts to stop the outbreak of the disease in the district.

The consequences, which can manifest anywhere from a few months to years after infection, include fever, damage to the spleen and liver, and anaemia. Although the disease is often self-healing, it can create permanent scars on the body. Children, especially girls in the age group of 1-5 years are common victims.

The locals alleged that the diseases are spreading fast in the district, but the government officials have not provided them with any relief especially the fumigation to control sand flies in the district.

Leishmaniasis is considered as a major public health problem in the districts. Earlier in 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) had expressed concern over the prevalence of leishmaniasis in different parts of KP and called for adopting measures to control the ailment.

However, the health officials complain that they have no funds available due to which the fumigation drive cannot be started in Karak which is believed as the only possible solution to counter the growth of the sand flies.