Updated on 29 November 2012
Dr G-Halli Rajasekariah, chief scientist and Dr Hubert G Mazure, marketing manager- Cellabs, Australia
India is a highly populated country with large tracts of sub-tropical and tropical environment, where the control of vector-borne infectious diseases has become particularly challenging.
India is a rapidly developing country but poverty is still a common place. About 90 percent of the population lives in conditions where they are at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes or sand flies.
Construction sites, a common sight in Indian cities, are frequently associated with pools of stagnant water which form an ideal breeding ground for insect vectors such as mosquitoes. Unfortunately, there are no proven effective vaccines against most tropical infections and insects such as mosquitoes or sand flies have often become resistant to insecticides, which makes combating their spread all the more difficult.
The net result is that India remains home to a variety of tropical and neglected tropical diseases. The term "tropical diseases" covers all forms of vector-borne infections encountered in the tropical zone, while the term "neglected tropical diseases" (or NTDs) covers most tropical infections except for malaria and dengue. In both cases, such infections are commonly found in India, where the combination of tropical weather, humid environments and unsanitary conditions around habitations, provide a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes and sand flies.