Health News of 2014-01-11

Elephantiasis on the rise in Upper East

Cases of elephantiasis reported in health facilities in the Bolgatanga Municipality rose from five in 2012 to 225 in 2013.

The Municipal Disease Control Officer of Ghana Health Service, Mr Collins Addo, who made this known at Bolgatanga , explained that are many unreported cases of the disease in some communities in the Municipality and its surroundings.

The Municipal Disease Control Office attributed the low figure in 2012 to the mass treatment embarked upon by the Bolgatanga Municipal Health Directorate and indicated that the disease could only be managed to prevent infection.

Mr. Addo who explained that the disease is caused by a bite from mosquito indicated that after biting its victims it lives the parasite which later grows into the elephantiasis disease.

He explained that elephantiasis could either affect the limp, the scrotum and sometimes women’s breast and entreated members of the public not to hesitate to report early signs such as fever, chills, headache and skin lesions to the health facilities for treatment and management instead of waiting for it to develop.

He mentioned that though affected persons who usually go through the treatment of the disease often complained about side effects such as itching, rushes, headaches and sometimes fever such instances could be managed at health facilities for free.

Generally, elephantiasis is a condition characterised by gross enlargement of an area of the body, especially the limbs. Other areas commonly affected include the external genitals.

Elephantiasis is caused by obstruction of the lymphatic system, which results in the accumulation of a fluid called lymph in the affected areas.

Functioning as part of the immune system, the lymphatic system helps to protect the body against infection and disease. It consists of a network of tubular channels (lymph vessels) that drain a thin watery fluid known as lymph from different areas of the body into the bloodstream.

Obstruction of these vessels results in the massive swelling and gross enlargement being characteristic of elephantiasis.

According to Mr Addo the Directorate recorded 8,555 typhoid cases as against 9,074 in 2013 showing an increase of about 519 cases.

The Municipality recorded 2,120 dysentery cases in 2012 as against 1,662 in 2013; a decline of about 458 cases. It recorded nine cholera cases in 2012 as against three cases in 2013.

The Directorate recorded 119,734 in 2013 from 166,929 cases in 2012.

Source: GNA
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