Leprosy curable, preventable: DOH

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- The Department of Health (DOH) urged patients with leprosy to complete their treatment as the disease is curable and preventable.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease and locally as "ketong," is caused by a slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae that affects the skin, nerves, nasal mucosa and eyes.

The two types of leprosy are Paucibacillary when there are one to five skin blemishes, and Multibacillary when there are six or more spots on the skin.

The disease can be directly transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.

"Leprosy is curable through early detection, competent doctor's advice, regular medication intake, and community support," the DOH said.

Treatment of leprosy lasts from six months to 18 months depending on the type by taking a medicine called Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT), which is free and available in health centers.

The agency said the first dose of MDT kills 99.9 percent of the germs causing leprosy and completing the treatment will prevent deformity and disabilities to the patient.

Last year, DOH Central Luzon noted a decrease in cases being treated in the region versus the previous years.

The agency said that not all cases are being recorded.

DOH also mentioned the lack of training of new doctors and nurses assigned to health centers, and stigma and discrimination.

"We continue to capacitate medical frontliners and conduct advocacy activities to raise awareness, reduce stigma and maintain support for people affected by the disease," the DOH said.


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