Essential Facts (Prelims): 19 March, 2019


West Nile Fever

Category: Science

  • A six-year-old boy died in Kerala from the West Nile fever.
  • West Nile fever is a relatively unknown viral infection that leads to neurological diseases.
  • Birds are the natural hosts of the virus and vaccine is not available for it.
  • This viral infection is most often the result of mosquito bites.
  • Mosquitoes are infected when they feed on birds, which circulate the virus.
  • It may also be transmitted through contact with other infected animals, their blood, or other tissues.
  • Symptoms of the virus infection include cold, fever, fatigue and nausea.

‘India First’ Policy

Category: International

  • Maldives reaffirmed its “India first” policy.
  • India, in turn, expressed its full support to the Maldives in line with its “Neighbourhood First” policy.
  • During her two-day visit, Ms. Swaraj inaugurated the renovated Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, built in 1995.

National Anti-Profiteering Authority

Category: Economy

  • Consumer complaints are not the only trigger for the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) to act.
  • Mock purchases can be made by NAA offices to check a trader’s invoice for profiteering.
  • The NAA was set up under Section 171 of the Central GST Act, 2017 to check whether trade and industry were passing on rate reductions under the Goods and Services (GST) Tax.
  • Besides interested parties, the NAA chairman, as a civilian, could also take note of any instance.

Hayabusa 2

Category: Science & Technology

  • Japan’s space agency said that its Hayabusa2 spacecraft will drop an explosive on an asteroid to make a crater and then collect underground samples for possible clues to the origin of the solar system.
  • Hayabusa2 will drop an impactor of the size of a baseball weighing 2 kg on the asteroid, named Ryugu, on April 5 to collect samples from deeper underground that have not been exposed to the sun or space rays.
  • The mission will require the spacecraft to move quickly to the other side of the asteroid so it won’t get hit by flying shards from the blast.
  • While moving away, Hayabusa2 will leave a camera to capture the outcome. Scientists will then analyse details of the crater to determine the history of the asteroid.

Dry Eye Disease

Category: Science

  • For the first time, a study in India has found the incidence of dry eye disease to affect large chunk of the population.
  • The incidence in urban areas was higher than in rural areas. The prevalence of dry eye disease will be about 40% of the urban population by 2030.
  • Since the disease tends to be progressive with age, once corneal damage becomes irreversible it can lead to visual impairment and even blindness.. The onset of dry eye disease is early in men than in women.
  • In men, the age of disease onset is early 20s and 30s compared with 50s and 60s in women.
  • Hormonal imbalance could be a likely reason for higher cases in women in their 50s and 60s.
  • Low tear production Age, urban residence, occupation and socio-economic affluence were found to be high risk factors for developing the disease.
  • Dry eye disease could occur due to inadequate tear production (aqueous deficient), tear film instability due to evaporation or mixed type.