The Plateau Government is set to ensure prompt detection of leprosy disease to check its spread in the state, the Commissioner for Health, Kuden Deyin, said on Monday in Jos.
The commissioner told newsmen at an event to commemorate 2018 World Leprosy Day with the theme “Zero Disability In Girls and Boys” that the ministry had commenced training of health workers and community volunteers on how to detect the disease.
He added that some health workers were not aware of the early signs and symptoms of the disease, noting that the ministry had also commenced effective leprosy awareness campaign in the 17 local government areas, especially endemic areas.
Mr Deyin explained that the disease was a chronic airborne disease caused by a germ called mycobacterium leprae, with incubation period of five years in some cases.
According to him, the symptoms may occur within a year or it can take as long as 20 years to manifest.
The commissioner said leprosy was curable “and the treatment in the state was absolutely free.”
Some of the early signs, he says, are skin patches lighter than the normal skin complexion, which does not itch but can present with definite loss of sensation.
Others signs are loss of sensation on hand and feet, weakness of hands and feet and numbness of the hands and feet.
Mr Deyin, however, explained that if the disease was left untreated, it could cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes and untreated adult leprosy patients were capable of spreading the disease to others, especially young adults.
He said 114 cases of leprosy were recorded in the state in 2016, while the figure for 2017 was being compiled by the Ministry of Health.