Accra, Dec. 09, GNA - The Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service will from December 13 to 17 embark on a mass drug administration exercise against Lymphatic Filariasis also known as Elephantiasis.
The drug, Albendazole and Ivermectin would be administered to people above five years with the height from 90cm and above.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday, Dr David Antwi, Deputy Regional Health Director, however said pregnant women, lactating mothers, and the seriously ill patients would be exempted.
Dr Antwi said the exercise was aimed at getting rid of the parasites from the systems of infected people and also prevent others from getting infected.
Lymphatic Filariasis is a parasite disease caused by a
microscopic thread like worm and it is spread from person to
person through mosquito bites. Dr Antwi explained that when a mosquito bit a person who has
lymphatic filariasis, the microscopic worms circulating in the
person's blood would infect the mosquito. The worms however live for five to seven years in the person. He noted that people with the worm in their blood could also
infect others through repeated mosquito bites over several months. In Greater Accra, the endemic districts are Ledzokuku Krowor,
Ga West, East, South, Ayawaso, La, Ablekuma and Ashiedu
Keteke. He expressed concern about the absence of a reliable data on
the prevalence of the diseases because infected people do not report
to the hospital "maybe they know or think there is no treatment or
cure for it". Giving the symptoms of diseases, Dr Antwi said most people
infected were asymptomatic and would never develop the disease's
clinical symptoms despite the fact that the parasite damages the
lymph systems. He said the lymphedema was caused by improper functioning of
the lymph system resulting in fluid collection and swelling mostly in
the legs but could also affect the arm, breast, and the genitalia whilst
most people develop those clinical signs years after being infected. "The skin becomes hard and thick and that is called elephantiasis
due to increase in the bacterial infections in the skin and lymph
system. Men with the disease develop hydrocele or swelling of the
scrotum", he added. He urged people to protect themselves from being infected by
avoiding mosquito bites especially at dusk and dawn and sleep
under treated mosquito nets. 9 Dec. 10