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Elephantiasis cases on the rise in Bolgatanga

2014-01-15 20:57:26
This article has been read 763 times.

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 the Ghana Health Service, Mr Collins Addo, who made this known to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga at the weekend, said there were many unreported cases of the disease in some communities in the municipality and its surroundings.

He 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, explained that the disease was caused by a bite from infected mosquitoes which transmit the parasitic worms to people, which later developed into the elephantiasis.

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

He mentioned that though affected persons who usually underwent treatment often complained about side effects such as itching, rashes, headaches and sometimes fever, these 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 the 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 infections and diseases. 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 massive swellings and gross enlargements, characteristic of elephantiasis.

In a related development, Mr Addo disclosed that the directorate recorded 8,555 typhoid cases in 2012 as against 9,074 in 2013, showing an increase of about 519 cases.

The municipality recorded 2,120 dysentery cases in 2012, compared to 1,662 in 2013- a decline of about 458 cases.

It also recorded nine cholera cases in 2012 as against three cases in 2013.


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