DOH to probe suspected new leprosy cases in South Palawan

DOH-MIMAROPA investigates the reported new cases of leprosy in southern Palawan. (photo credit: juan-ted.com)


The Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA will investigate the reported new cases of leprosy in southern Palawan where at least eight persons were reported to have shown chronic, progressive bacterial infection.

DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said Wednesday morning that although the report about the affected residents in Rizal municipality, southern Palawan has not reached him, they have to be medically examined and treated.

“We have to get them for check-up immediately and treatment. If they’re not treated, the bacterial infection can spread and affect others,” Janairo said.

If the cases are confirmed to be leprosy, Janairo said people should be careful as leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, can spread through the mucus of a disease-ridden individual.

“Contracting the bacterial infection all depends on the physiology of the person, or his/her resistance. If a person is prone to a lot of skin disease, he/she can immediately have leprosy. We will send our people to look into this,” Janairo stated.

In October, the Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO) said it has confirmed eight cases in the town of Rizal from a family of Pala’wan indigenous peoples.

Dr. Mary Ann Navarro in earlier interviews with the local media was quoted in saying the residents that were afflicted by the bacterial infection were detected following the conduct of “Kilatis Kutis.”

Navarro said out of 28 individuals who took the skin-slit smear, eight tested positive, and their diagnosis came late since they live far from accessible health units.

The World Health Organization (WHO), leprosy is a “chronic disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae. M. leprae multiplies slowly and the incubation period of the disease, on average, is 5 years.”

It said that “in some cases, symptoms may occur within 1 year but can also take as long as 20 years to occur. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and also the eyes, and is curable with multidrug therapy (MDT).”

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