Health Workers Renew Campaign on Leprosy Treatment in West Nile Region

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Medical workers in the West Nile sub region have warned the public against resorting to witch doctors to treat leprosy.

This comes after the medical authorities recorded new leprosy infections in Yumbe, Nebbi, Adjumani, and Zombo districts last year.

John Onzima, the leprosy supervisor in the region, said efforts to demystify the myths surrounding the disease have been prioritized by the officials.

Onzima recommended early diagnosis and treatment of people detected to have leprosy as critical.

“For household contacts, immediate and annual examinations are recommended for at least five years after last contact with a person who is infectious,” he said.

Statistics indicate that since 2000, Yumbe District has registered 326 cases of leprosy. Across the region, there were 44 cases registered in 2006, 30 cases in 2007 and 33 in 2008; in 2009, the region registered 11 cases; in 2010 there were 38; and there were 17 in 2011.

According to the Ministry of Health in 2009, the case detection rate was 1.2 per 100,000. New cases continue to occur, but 2/3 of them came from only 13 of the 112 districts.

According to World Health OrganizationΒ statistics published in 2014, a total ofΒ 215 656 new leprosy cases were detected worldwide, although the number of leprosy cases is dropping.

Leprosy is caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It mainly affects the skin, eyes, nose, and peripheral nerves.

Light-colored or red skin patches with reduced sensation, numbness, and weakness in the hands and feet.

While not highly infectious, it is transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.

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