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Current Affairs 29 July 2023

Contents:

  1. Dengue fever cases escalate globally
  2. India’s tiger population rises
  3. India launches ‘Neerakshi’ – Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
  4. World Hepatitis Day
  5. Manipur resumes biometric capture of illegal immigrants

Dengue fever cases escalate globally


Context:

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) forecasted the possibility of record-level dengue cases this year due to global warming favouring disease-transmitting mosquitoes.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Dengue Fever
  2. Dengue Outbreaks in 2023
  3. Disease control and Treatment
  4. What are Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)?
  5. Government’s efforts regarding NTD

About Dengue Fever:

  • Dengue fever is a tropical disease that is borne by mosquitoes. It is caused by the dengue virus. 
  • Dengue is spread by several species of female mosquitoes of the Aedes variety, specifically of the A.aegypti.
  • The ideal conditions for this species of mosquitos are usually between the latitudes of 35° North and 35° South with an elevation of 1000 metres (3300 ft).
  • Even though humans are the primary host of the virus, non-human primates are also carriers.
  • A single bite is more than enough to be a cause for infection.
  • A female mosquito that bites a person infected person with dengue becomes itself infected during the initial 2-10 day febrile period.
  • After 8 – 10 days, the virus spreads to other tissues including the mosquitoes salivary glands and is subsequently released into its saliva. As per the research conducted on this species, th e mosquito remains infected.
  • Dengue is currently listed as a “neglected tropical disease” (NTD).
  • Despite global efforts, dengue cases continue to rise, with millions reported annually worldwide.

Dengue Outbreaks in 2023:

  • Since the beginning of 2023, several regions across the globe have witnessed significant dengue outbreaks, reporting over two million cases.
  • Countries like Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia having recorded the highest number of cases this year.
  • Changing climatic conditions such as increased heat waves, floods, and prolonged hot summers, have created favorable environments for dengue-causing mosquito species.
  • Dengue cases in India:
    • Dengue cases have soared in India.
    • It is mainly attributed to heavy rains and inadequate control measures, which create the ideal breeding environment for mosquitoes.
    • States like Kerala, Odisha, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Karnataka are reporting large numbers of dengue cases.

Disease control and Treatment:

  • The recent surge in dengue cases worldwide including India thus demands immediate attention and action.
  • While public health measures are being implemented to control the spread of the disease, individual awareness and responsibility play a crucial role in curbing dengue transmission.
  • Treatment: Recently, Takeda released the first vaccine for the disease, which has been approved in a few countries.
    • The vaccine has modest efficacy in preventing severe disease but still has much ground to cover in terms of preventing infection, providing uniform protection against all serotypes, and ensuring long-term immunity.
  • Continued research and collaboration, including genomic surveillance of the virus, are essential to understanding the evolution and adaptation of the virus and developing effective strategies to combat dengue.

About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)?

  • Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)– a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries – affect more than one billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.
  • Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected.
  • Seven of the most common NTDs can be found in a number of countries—primarily in low- and middle-income countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Controlling the vectors (e.g., mosquitoes, black flies) that transmit these diseases and improving basic water, sanitation, and hygiene are highly effective strategies against these NTDs.

The NTD Crisis

  • NTDs such as dengue, lymphatic filariasis and visceral leishmaniasis (Kala-Azar) afflict 1 billion people worldwide, and yet, are not prioritised in the public health narrative in many parts of the world.
  • India bears the largest burden of NTDs in the world, accounting for 40 per cent of the global lymphatic filariasis disease burden and almost a quarter of the world’s visceral leishmaniasis cases.

Government’s efforts regarding NTD

  • In recent years, the government has made concerted efforts to address the nation’s NTD burden, especially visceral leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis which were slated to be eliminated by 2020 and 2021 respectively.
  • India has already eliminated several other NTDs, including guinea worm, trachoma, and yaws.
  • Measures taken include Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for lymphatic filariasis prevention in endemic districts and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) to control the breeding of sandflies that transmit visceral leishmaniasis.
  • The Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (APELF) was launched in 2018, as part of intensifying efforts towards the elimination of NTDs.
  • A WHO-supported regional alliance established by the governments of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal in 2005 to expedite early diagnosis and treatment of the most vulnerable populations and improve disease surveillance and control of sandfly populations (Kala-azar).

-Source: The Hindu


India’s tiger population rises


Context:

India’s Tiger population rises with Madhya Pradesh housing the maximum number of big cats.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Tiger
  2. Rise in Tiger Population
  3. Project Tiger
  4. About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
  5. Organizations or Forums involved in Tiger Conservation

About Tiger:

  • Tiger being a keystone species is the symbol of courage and strength in India.
  • This charismatic species has earned its pride as a National animal of India.
  • It features in the National emblem adopted by the Government of India in 1950.
  • India is one of the important Tiger range countries and has more than 70% of the world’s wild tigers and is in a leadership position on the tiger front globally.
  • The largest Tiger Reserve in India is Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana) and the smallest Tiger Reserve in India is Bor Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra). According to the Tiger Census

Rise in Tiger Population:

  • As per the latest estimate by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), India’s tiger population increased to 3,682 in 2022, up from 2,967 in 2018.
  • This also indicates significant growth over the last decade; there were 2,226 tigers reported in 2014, up from 1,706 in 2010.
  • In 2022, the maximum number of tigers, 785, were reported to be in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Karnataka (563), Uttarakhand (560), and Maharashtra (444).
  • Since 2014, India’s tigers have been increasing at about 5% to 6% each year.
  • Nearly a quarter of the tigers were reportedly outside protected areas.
  • India’s tigers are largely concentrated in 53 dedicated tiger reserves  spanning about 2.3% of India’s total land area.
  • The reserves with the maximum number of tigers were at the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, which reported 260 animals, followed by Bandipur (150), and Nagarhole (141), both in Karnataka.
  • Estimation of Tigers:
    • Tiger numbers are estimated based on the number of unique tigers captured on camera, plus an estimate of animals that may have not been photographed.
    • Nearly 88% of the tigers estimated this time were captured on camera.

Project Tiger

Introduction:

  • Project Tiger is a conservation program launched by the Indian government on April 1, 1973, to protect tigers from extinction due to widespread hunting and poaching.

Objectives:

  • The primary objectives of Project Tiger are to promote the conservation of the tiger and its habitat, control the poaching of tigers, and maintain a viable population of tigers in India.

Implementation:

  • The program was started in nine tiger reserves of different states in India, covering over 14,000 sq km.
  • The project also ensured the preservation of the natural habitat of tigers, which is vital for their survival.

Success and Challenges:

  • The program’s success was evident from the rise in the tiger population in India, estimated to be around 3,000 by the 1990s.
  • However, the local extermination of tigers in Rajasthan’s Sariska in 2005 was a significant setback.
  • To overcome the challenge, the Indian government established the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to reconstitute Project Tiger.

About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority is set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.
  • The Authority will have eight experts or professionals having qualifications and experience in wildlife conservation and welfare of people including tribals, apart from three Members of Parliament of whom two will be elected by the House of the People and one by the Council of States.
  • The Authority, interalia, would lay down normative standards, guidelines for tiger conservation in the Tiger Reserves, apart from National Parks and Sanctuaries.
  • It would provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, report on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit, including future plan for conservation.
  • The Authority would also facilitate and support tiger reserve management in the States through eco-development and people’s participation as per approved management plans, and support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the Central and state laws.
  • The Tiger Conservation Authority would be required to prepare an Annual Report, which would be laid in the Parliament along with the Audit Report.
  • Every 4 years the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) conducts a tiger census across India.

Organizations or Forums involved in Tiger Conservation:

1) Global Tiger Forum(GTF): It is an Inter-Governmental international body working exclusively for the conservation of Tigers. Established in 1994, the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) has its headquarters in New Delhi set up to promote a worldwide campaign to save the tiger, its prey, and its habitat.

2) The Global Tiger Initiative(GTI):It was launched in 2008 as a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society, conservation, and scientific communities, and the private sector, to work together to save wild tigers from extinction. In 2013, the scope was broadened to include Snow Leopards.

3) Wildlife Institute of India (WII): Wildlife Institute of India (WII) offers training programs, academic courses, and advisory in wildlife research and management. It was established in 1982 at Dehradun. It is an autonomous Institution of the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

4) World Wildlife Fund(WWF): It works to conserve and connect tiger habitat, monitors tigers and their prey, and collaborates with governments across the 13 tiger range countries to protect wild tigers.

-Source: The Hindu


India launches ‘Neerakshi’ – Autonomous Underwater Vehicle


Context:

India launches ‘Neerakshi’, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for mine detection

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims, GS-III Internal Security

About ‘Neerakshi’:

  • The AUV named ‘Neerakshi’ is a collaboration of Kolkata-based warshipmaker Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd and MSME entity AEPL.
  • It is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) designed to detect mines.
  • It is a first of its kind in the country was launched recently and is expected to undergo user trials by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, and Army before a commercial launch.
  • This can be used for a variety of functions ranging from mine detection to mine disposal to underwater survey.
  • It has an endurance of four hours and can go up to 300 metres deep.

-Source: Hindustan Times


World Hepatitis Day


Context:

WHO launches “One life, one liver” campaign on World Hepatitis Day. It is observed on July 28.

Relevance:

GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Hepatitis B?
  2. How does hepatitis B virus spread?
  3. Symptoms of Hepatitis B
  4. What is adenovirus and how is it leading to Hepatitis B in children?

What is Hepatitis B?

  • Hepatitis B is an infection in the liver which happens because of the Hepatitis B virus or HBV.
  • The virus usually spreads through blood, semen or other body fluids.
  • It can be prevented or protected against through vaccination.
  • When it is acute, the virus lasts a small time and doesn’t always necessarily need treatments although it can get serious and lead to life-threatening diseases like organ scarring, liver failure and even cancer.

How does hepatitis B virus spread?

The virus is found in the blood or certain body fluids and is spread when blood or body fluid from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. This can occur in a variety of ways including:

  • Unprotected sexual contact
  • Sharing drugs, needles, or “works” when using drugs
  • Poor infection control practices in medical settings
  • Sharing of blood sugar (diabetes) testing equipment
  • Needle sticks or sharps exposures on the job
  • From mother to baby during birth
  • Contact with wounds or skin sores
  • When an infected person bites another person
  • Pre-chewing food for babies
  • Sharing personal-care items, such as razors or toothbrushes

Hepatitis B virus particles can be found on objects, even in the absence of visible blood. The virus can remain infectious and capable of spreading infection for at least seven days outside the human body. Hepatitis B will not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, coughing, and sneezing or by casual contact, such as in an office or factory setting.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • fatigue that lasts for weeks or even months
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in joints or belly

There is a fair chance that the symptoms are not visible for one to six months since you catch the virus.

What is adenovirus and how is it leading to Hepatitis B in children?

  • Adenovirus is a group of viruses that commonly cause cold or flu-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, acute inflammation of the stomach, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.
  • Adenovirus is known to spread from one person to another through close contact, coughing, sneezing and even by touching an object containing adenovirus and then further touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Type 41 adenovirus is suspected of causing Hepatitis B in children.
  • While there are more than 50 types of adenoviruses, it is type 41 that causes diarrhoea, vomiting and fever along with respiratory problems.

-Source: The Indian Express


Manipur resumes biometric capture of illegal immigrants


Context:

Recently, the Manipur State Government resumed the campaign for the biometric capture of all illegal Myanmar immigrants in the state.

Relevance:

GS Paper -1: Population and associated issues.

GS Paper-2: India and its neighborhood- relations; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. What are Issues & Concerns to India’s Security?
  3. About National Crime Records Bureau

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had earlier instructed the state government to complete the campaign for the biometric capture of illegal Myanmar immigrants in Manipur by September 2023.
  • A team from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been deputed, who will be assisted by state government employees in the biometric capturing exercise.
  • Districts in the state were asked to identify illegal immigrants in their respective areas.
  • In the detention centers, 104 illegal immigrants are lodged in the past two years which include 24 men, 74 women, and 6 minors.

What are Issues & Concerns to India’s Security?

  • National Security Threat: The ongoing illegal immigration into India, as well as their continued presence in India, has been discovered to have major national security implications and poses serious security dangers.
  • Conflict of Interests: It affects the interests of local residents in regions where large numbers of illegal immigrants are arriving.
  • Political Instability: When leaders start mobilising citizens against migrants in order to obtain political power, it creates political instability.
  • Militancy on the Rise: Persistent attacks on Muslims thought to be illegal immigration have resulted in radicalization.
  • Human trafficking: In recent decades, women’s trafficking and human smuggling have become widespread across international borders.
  • Disturbance in Law and Order: Illegal migrants who participate in illegal and anti-national activities jeopardise the country’s rule of law and integrity.

About National Crime Records Bureau

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is a government body in India that collects and analyses crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).
  • NCRB is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India and has its headquarters in New Delhi.

Formation

  • The NCRB was established in 1986.
  • The Inter-State Criminals Data Branch, the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), and the CBI’s Central Finger Print Bureau merged to become the NCRB.
  • The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networking System (CCTNS) was approved in 2009 as part of the NCRB’s growth, and the Digital Police Portal was established in 2017.

Objectives  

  • Maintain a national database of fingerprints of all criminals in India.
  • Create, lead, and coordinate the development of IT applications for Police.
  • Collate information and maintain statistics on crime and criminals at the national level.
  • Creation and maintenance of Database at the National level for law enforcement agencies.
  • To coordinate, guide and assist the functioning of the State Crime Records Bureaux, along with, providing training facilities to personnel of the Crime Records bureaux
  • To function as the National storehouse of fingerprint (FP) records of convicted persons including FP records of foreign criminals
  • To keep the central and state governments updated with the official records and findings related to any case

-Source: Liveminet


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