Leprosy resurges in Gombe, five children affected

Photo: dermatlas.med.jhmi.edu

The Gombe State Government confirmed the new cases.

The Gombe State Office of the Leprosy and Tuberculosis (TB) Control Programme, said on Wednesday it has detected five new leprosy cases among children in the state.

Mustapha Musa, the Programme Manager said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gombe that the new cases points to a resurgence of leprosy in the state.

He said the five cases were detected between January and April this year in Dukku, Yamaltu-Deba and Shongom Local Government Areas. He said leprosy cases in the state had before now, dropped significantly.

“The cases in the state seem to be dropping. In 2011, there were 120 cases, in 2012 it dropped to less than 100 and now the reverse is the case and is manifesting among children,” he said.

Mr. Musa lamented that the disease was not receiving the desired attention in spite of its devastating effects.

“Leprosy does not seem to be a public health issue; governments at all levels should take it seriously because of its devastating effect,” the manager added.

He said measures had been taken to track down the source of the new infections and stop further transmission.

“There is every possibility that somebody within the communities the children live has the micro organism and is transmitting it,” the manager added.

He explained that the disease could be transmitted through sneezing and coughing, and has an incubation period of three to 10 years before manifesting into full blown leprosy.

Mr. Musa said 98 Direct Observatory Therapy Centres had been established in 11 local government areas in the state, adding that treatment for leprosy was free.

“If the disease is identified early, there will be no disability, but once it has manifested it is irreversible, ” he said; and appealed to the public to report to the nearest hospital, if they noticed any patch on their skin.



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