SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/01 July) – The City Health Office (CHO) aims to at least minimize, if not eliminate, the occurrence of schistosomiasis in three barangays where the disease is prevalent.
Jessica I. Nepumoceno, communicable disease cluster coordinator at the CHO told MindaNews that they will start with the campaign next month by conducting stool examinations in these areas.
She said that based on the baseline study and stool examination results in the past years, some residents of Barangays Luna, Capalayan and Nabago turned out positive for the parasitic disease.
Last year, 25 of 125 persons examined in Luna were positive of schistosomiasis and were given free medication.
In Capalayan, only four persons were positive out of 147 persons who were examined and were also given free medications, Nepumoceno said.
The figure for Nabago was not available.
“After doing examinations, we will come up with mass treatment and we have done this every year in the city as far as this infection is concerned,” Nepumoceno said.
She noted that although these figures are low compared to those in some municipalities of Surigao del Norte, the prevalence rate has been increasing every year.
She said in 2009 the prevalence rate in the city was only at 1.4, but climbed 1.5 in 2010 at 1.5. In 2011, it rose to 5.5 and last year, to 10.6.
Nepumuceno attributed the increasing number of cases to the some villagers who come into contact with fresh water infested with the larval forms (cercariae) of parasitic blood flukes, known as schistosomes.
The World Health Organization said schistosomiasis often is a chronic illness that can damage internal organs and, in children, impair growth and cognitive development. The urinary form of schistosomiasis is associated with increased risks for bladder cancer in adults.
The health organization said this infection is prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas, in poor communities without potable water and adequate sanitation. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)