Surigao Norte sets massive schisto treatment

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/26 July)—The Surigao del Norte Provincial Health Office (PHO) will conduct a massive schistosomiasis treatment in different towns starting next month.

Belen Bonono, PHO schistosomiasis coordinator, said the provincial government and the various municipal health offices have scheduled the mass treatment for those that have undergone the stool examinations.

She said the mass treatment will first be conducted in the towns of Bacuag, Claver, Gigaquit, Sta. Monica and San Isidro.

Of the 5,350 people who have undergone the stool examinations in the said towns, 257 were found positive, Bonono said.

Bacuag has 48 positive cases, 24 in Claver, 100 in Gigaquit, 50 in Sta. Monica and 35 in San Isidro, data showed.

Bonono said schistosomiasis, a tropical disease caused by parasitic worms that live in certain types of freshwater snails, continues to be a public health concern in the province.

The province has ¬endemic towns that are priority areas for the elimination of schistosomiasis, Bonono said.

These are the towns of Mainit, Bacuag and San Isidro.

Last year, 719 persons were affected by schistosomiasis from 20 towns of the province.

Mainit posted the highest with 358 cases followed by 123 in Bacuag, 77 in San Isidro, 28 in Sta. Monica, and 24 in Alegria.

Carmilito Mantong, provincial supervising sanitary inspector, said that the disease usually affects farmers.

He advised individuals to use gears such as boots to avoid schistosomiasis , also known as bilharzia.

Mantong added that one could get afflicted through skin penetration, usually by stepping into farmlands contaminated by the disease.

Symptoms of acute schistosomiasis include fever, abdominal discomfort and blood in stools.(Roel Catoto/MindaNews)