114 people afflicted with leprosy in Pangasinan

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Monday, March 24, 2014


DAGUPAN CITY -- The Pangasinan health office said on Monday there are 114 leprosy patients in the province, all of whom are not contagious.

Likewise, the recorded number of leprosy patients should not be cause of worry as it only constitutes a small portion of the population of the province, which is almost three million, said Dr. Anna de Guzman, provincial health officer.

She said all 114 persons are undergoing treatment and being monitored, adding that once a person has started taking drugs, it will render the patient non-contagious.

However, she warned that leprosy can be transmitted through droplets of the afflicted person, like coughing or sneezing, when close enough to the other person.

Calling on people not to discriminate people afflicted with leprosy, Dr. De Guzman stressed that with the modern drugs now in use, leprosy is now curable and medication is free in all government health centers

“They (the 114 persons) are all undergoing treatment and once they have started medication, they are no longer contagious but we continue to check on their housemates to see if they manifest symptoms of leprosy but so far, they are not afflicted,” she said.

She said that once a patient is undergoing medication, the micro bacterium leprae goes down in the body and is no longer capable of being transferred so if they continue medication, they can be cured.

De Guzman called on people with leprosy not to hide their disease but rather come out for medical help, adding that health workers in barangay health centers were trained on how to manage the disease.

At the same time, De Guzman said that the female patient named Grace from Sta. Barbara town, who was reported by a television network to be suffering from flesh-eating bacteria along with another patient Alex from Villasis, has already been discharged from the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital (PPH) in San Carlos City.

Grace, 22, turned out to be suffering from leprosy but was already taking drugs when it was erroneously reported she was suffering from a disease caused by a flesh-eating bacteria.

Grace's treatment, however, will take a little longer as she is also suffering from anemia and was underweight.

De Guzman said that Grace was suffering what she called Lucio phenomenon and is now doing joint management with the help of some dermatologists in Pangasinan who gave her free medicine.

The other patient, Alex from Villasis town who was afflicted with a skin disease called psoriasis, was discharged from the PPH a week earlier.

Governor Amado Espino Jr. ordered the confinement of the two for free at the PPH.

De Guzman explained that psoriasis is a genetic disease that cannot be cured but its symptoms can be controlled.

Aside from psoriasis, Alex is also suffering from arthritis, and once discharged from the PPH, he can already walk a little with the aid of a walker given to him by the Provincial Government.

De Guzman said that Alex is now under rehabilitation management, adding that psoriasis is non-contagious.

Corollary to this, De Guzman advised people with skin diseases to avoid swimming in public swimming pools. (PNA)

Local news

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