ARI infection highest among communicable diseases in Odisha: Report

WHO says Vitamin A deficiency makes one vulnerable to ARI. In Odisha, as per Nutritional Survey, Vitamin A deficiency is a moderate public health problem

Bhubaneswar: A seemingly health alert for Odisha. Among the communicable diseases, Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) is highest in the State.

A whopping 17.92 lakh were infected by this lethal disease in the State last year. And a total of 58 had succumbed to death. The State figured among the top -10 states in the country in 2018.

Such an evolving disease trend in Odisha was brought to the fore by the National Health Profile – 2019 released recently.

The significant mention here is ARI affects both children and elders alike. As per WHO, besides environmental factors, Vitamin A deficiency can make one vulnerable to the infection. As the deficiency damages the lungs, their immunity to such viral attacks stood eroded greatly.

And the recently released Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-18  has identified Odisha among the states that have higher proportion of vitamin A deficiency.

As per CNNS-2016-18, Vitamin A deficiency in Odisha is a moderate public health problem. Nearly 20 per cent children in the age-group of 1-4 years in Odisha exhibit Vitamin A deficiency, the proportion in 5-9 years age-group stood at 18.3 per cent and in 10-19 years at 19.1 per cent.

What is ARI? ARI is an acute infection of any part of respiratory tract and related structures including paranasal sinuses, middle ear, and pleural cavity. ARIs include a diverse group of diseases like pharyngitis, bronchiolitis etc.

As per a recent report in Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, around 13 per cent of inpatient deaths in pediatric wards of states having high infant mortality were due to ARI.

Significantly, as per the latest data on Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)-2017, Odisha with 41 deaths per 1000 is third in the country.

While the ARI shows no gender divide among the children, the divide records a yawning gap between adult male and females. As a consequence, when 9.8 lakh males were infected by ARI in 2018, the numbers for women stood at around 8 lakh.

The reason for higher infection among adult males than females is attributed to smoking. Smoking compromises the immunity of lungs to resist viral and bacterial onslaughts.