By Suzan Edeh
Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis/Leprosy and Malaria, BACATMA, said, yesterday, no fewer than 206 new cases of leprosy were detected in Bauchi State in 2017.
Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr. Mansur Mustapha Dada, who stated this yesterday at a briefing, as part of activities marking the commemoration of World Leprosy Day, said the 2017 state statistics showed that the number of children among the new cases was 32, representing 15.5 percent.
He said leprosy was a chronic disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Leprae and was transmitted by minute droplets through the upper respiratory tract, adding that the bacteria was very slow, growing with generation time of 12 to 13 days and an incubation period of two to five years.
Dada said from 2015 to 2017, the agency renovated the Leprosy unit at Bayara Hospital in the state, provided drugs/commodities and conducted Leprosy campaign at Kuturun Kuka Maimadi Ward of Alkaleri Local Government, where the case detection rate was high.
His words: “The disease develops slowly from six months to 40 years, affecting the skin, mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract and the peripheral nervous system, resulting in skin lesions and deformities such as eyes, nose, feet, hands and testicles.
“It tends to occur within families, which has led many to think leprosy is hereditary.
“However, scientists have proved that the disease is due to over-crowding, concentrations and intimacy with family members.”