Breaking

Elephantiasis On The Increase In Iganga

Elephantiasis infections in Iganga have more than doubled in the last five years. 70 cases have been reported in the district out of a population of 533,900 people. In the five years before the new infections, less than 10 people had been infected with Elephantiasis in Iganga district from a population of 400,000 people.

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Elephantiasis infections in Iganga have more than doubled in the last five years. 70 cases have been reported in the district out of a population of 533,900 people.

In the five years before the new infections, less than 10 people had been infected with Elephantiasis in Iganga district from a population of 400,000 people.

Anthony Ochola, Iganga Neglected Tropical Disease Focal person, says although the increase does not seem significant, the cause for the rise is worrying: a lack of drugs. Elephantiasis can be treated with Invermectine and Albendazole.

It can also be prevented by sleeping under treated mosquito nets and better vector control methods.

Elephantiasis is caused by filarial worms and is transmitted through a bite of an infected mosquito. It is characterized by the swelling of the limbs and scrotum (hydrocele).

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Aggrey Wambi, a patient of Elephantiasis and hydrocele from Ilenzi village in Nambaale sub-county Iganga district, says he had never swallowed medicine for the disease until the Ministry of Health gave him free medicine to swallow for the first time. His legs begun swelling at nine years old, today he is 23 years and does not know how many people are already infected in his village.

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Zubaili Lubaale (49) another Elephantiasis patient from Igenge village in Iganga is afraid that his entire family may have already contracted filarial worms.

He complains that without medicines in health centres and mosquito nets, poor people in rural areas are left defenseless against the disease.

The Ministry of Health has embarked on a five year programme to combat Neglected Tropical Diseases in Uganda. The programme involves fighting Elephantiasis through distribution of free Albendazole and Ivermectine to people all over Uganda.

Dr. Patrick Turyaguma, of the Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Section of the Ministry of Health, says patients should take Albendazole and Ivermetine once every year to prevent the multiplication of filarial worms in the body. It also prevents spreading the worms to other people through mosquito bites.

Elephantiasis is common in 44 districts of Uganda with Katakwi, Kaberamaido leading with the highest prevalence of 30 people out of every 100. 14 million people are at risk, while 4.8 million people are infected with Elephantiasis in Uganda.

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