The department of health in Awerial County, with support from the national Ministry of Health, is set to launch a bilharzia campaign this week.
Bilharzia is a disease caused by infection with freshwater parasitic worms in certain tropical and subtropical countries, according to health experts.
The exercise comes two months after the health authorities recorded more than 90 cases of Bilharzia among children and adults.
James Manyiel, county medical officer, says they are currently training 300 community drug distributors. He says the training ends on Thursday and the campaign kicks off.
He announced that the aim is to prevent spread of Bilharzia and to treat those who have already caught the disease.
“It can be a very dangerous – life threatening. So, the community should use this chance to prevent themselves from the disease,” Manyiel told Mingkaman FM on Tuesday.
However, he cautioned that children below the age of five, the elderly people, pregnant women, and lactating mothers, whose babies are just 14 days old cannot take the bilharzia medicine.
The parasite can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. The fresh water becomes contaminated from infected animals or human urine or feces.
The parasites penetrate human skin to enter the bloodstream and migrate to the liver, intestines, and other organs.
A rash, itchy skin, fever, chills, cough, headache, stomach pain, joint pain and muscle aches are symptoms.
A medication taken for one to two days can clear the infection.
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