Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike yesterday announced thatthe state had recorded 110 cases of leprosy in different parts of the state.

Dr. Akabuike, who disclosed this at a press conference to mark the World Leprosy Day in the state, said the state last year registered 95 cases of leprosy, who had been confined and currently receiving treatments in two rehabilitation centres in the state.

He said that 15 fresh cases had been identified in the state, bringing it to a total number of 110 people now being catered for in rehabilitation centres.

Akabuike said: "Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases known to man. It is also known as Hansens disease, as it is named after a Norwegian doctor, Gerhard Henrik Hansen who debunked the prevailing notion then, that the disease was hereditary.

"It is caused by bacteria and mainly affects the skin, peripheral nerves and mucus membrane of the upper respiratory tract. And transmission is through droplets of coughing and sneezing and it has an incubation period of 2 years before it fully manifests.

"What we are doing today is to create awareness and let the people know that leprosy has not totally disappeared. Through this, people will be conscious of it and also help to prevent the disease."

As part of the activities to mark the celebration, the commissioner said the ministry and its officials would visit the two rehabilitation centres at Nnewi and Okija to celebrate with the inmates and also let them know that it was no longer a terminal disease, if they routinely take their drugs.

He assured that the disease was fully preventable and curable, while advising people who find any trace of the disease to visit the TBL centres scattered in all the local government areas of the state for free cure and advice.

Speaking on why the disease has not been wiped out of the country, Akabuike said the attitude of carriers who refuse to report themselves for fear of stigmatization and quarantine, was largely responsible.

He said some people prefer to die with it than being identified.


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