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10 infected as strange disease causing swollen legs hits Bauchi

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Ten people so far have been affected by an unidentified condition causing swollen legs among residents in Bara village of Kirfi council area of Bauchi state.

Officials are suspecting onchocerciasis or lymphatic filariasis, considering both conditions have been reported in the area.

But investigations are yet to confirm suspicion.

“Late Sunday evening, we got report that people’s legs are swelling up in Bara village,” said executive chairman of Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed.

“Reports have it that so far, 10 people have been affected. I have directed the Disease Control Department of the Agency to mobilize to the village to find out what is the cause of the problem.”

He spoke while briefing journalists on Monday to commemorate the 2021 World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day celebration in Bauchi.

“We are suspecting onchocerciasis or lymphatic filariasis considering that the area is one of the LGAs that have the cases of those tropical diseases. As soon as we get the results of the investigation, we will take prompt action to curb it”.

Up to 1 million people suffer from neglected tropical diseases in Bauchi.

The diseases include onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminths, trachoma, schistosomiasis, Buruli ulcer, snake bite, leprosy, human African trypanosomiasis, Guinea worm, yaws, and loiasis, he said that with good sanitation and proper hygiene, the diseases can be checked.

Mohammed explained that Bauchi state has onchocerciasis in 12 LGAs; Lymphatic filariasis in 11 LGAs; Schistosomiasis in 16 LGAs, Trachoma in 2 LGAs.

He said that the state was able to collect and distribute 9 million tables of ivermectin; 1.9 million tablets of Albendazole; 1.7 million tablets of Praziquantel; 18 motorcycles for NTDs endemic LGAs; trained 500 health workers on NTD medicines supply chain management and 500 community volunteers on hygiene promotion.

“The state is making progress on the elimination of this preventive chemotherapy NTDs as onchocerciasis is about to be eliminated in the state. Three epidemiological surveys have equally been carried out, two were successful and we are waiting for the results of the third. Transmission Assessment Survey for Trachoma was carried out in Shira and Tafawa Balewa LGAs and was successful,” he said.

Mohammed also reveals that pre-transmission assessment survey was done in Giade, Bogoro, Tafawa Balewa and Itas/Gadau LGAs in 2018 to 2019 during which only Bogoro failed while for 2020, Misau, Warji and a repeat for Bogoro will be done this February.