Essential Facts (Prelims): 10th Feb, 2019


Category: Health

  • The rise in the number of recorded leprosy cases reported a decade and a half after India was declared leprosy-free in 2005, has turned the spotlight on the hotspots for the disease.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set the goal of zero children with leprosy and deformities by 2020, and less than one patient per million for other newly diagnosed patients.
  • Today, though, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra remain the ‘hotspots’ from which maximum prevalence was detected last year.
  • High population density, poor sanitation and inadequate access to nutrition are among the reasons for the number remaining high.

Tropical centipedes

Category: Geography

  • Continental drift (the moving apart of continents) almost 100 million years ago created many species of Ethmostigmus centipedes in the world’s tropics.
  • In the Indian peninsula, these centipedes first originated in the southern and central Western Ghats, and then spread across the ranges here.
  • India is home to six, fairly large Ethmostigmus centipedes: four dwell in the Western Ghats, one in the Eastern Ghats and one in north-east India.
  • Africa, south-east Asia and Australia are also home to other species of Ethmostigmus centipedes.
  • A single ancestor gave rise to all Ethmostigmus centipedes in the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana (continents including Australia, Africa and peninsular India comprised this single landmass then).
  • The subsequent breakup of Gondwana and the drifting away of different landmasses shaped the early evolutionary history of Ethmostigmus.

Orion Source I

Category: Science & technology 

  • Astronomers have detected chemical fingerprints of common salt (sodium chloride) in an unusual place – around a star.
  • Orion Source I is a young star behind the Orion Nebula.
  • The salt may be formed from colliding dust grains in the surrounding disk.


Category: Science & technology 

  • Hydrothermarchaeota, or microbes living in extreme environments may hold clues to the evolution of early life.
  • These microbes use carbon monoxide and sulfate as sources of energy – chemosynthesis.


Category: Science & technology 

  • Sepsis occurs when bacterial infections spiral out of control and cause an inflammatory cascade to propagate through the body.
  • The resulting inflammation then damages blood vessels and deprives organs of oxygen and nutrients, leading to organ failure and death.

Bedin 1

Category: Science & technology 

  • It is a modestly sized, elongated galaxy that measures only around 3,000 light-years at its greatest extent — a fraction of the size of the Milky Way.
  • Not only is it tiny but it is also incredibly faint.
  • These properties have led astronomers to classify it as a ‘dwarf spheroidal galaxy’.
  • Dwarf spheroidal galaxies are defined by their small size, low-luminosity, lack of dust and old stellar populations.
  • Bedin 1 was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope.