By Asma’u Ahmad
The FCT Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Unit has advised residents to go for prompt testing for leprosy if they noticed any form of skin patch lighter in colour that the surrounding skin.
Coordinator of the unit, Dr Josephine Okechukwu, stated in an interview with newsmen in Abuja that having numb skin patch was one of the early signs of leprosy.
She described leprosy as an airborne disease that could be contracted through cough as well as other ways from an infected person, saying the bacteria that caused leprosy did not grow fast, but that it took
three weeks to 20 years from the time of infection to the time of manifestation
Dr. Okechukwu said that early diagnosis helped to prevent the transmission of the disease and deformities associated with it thereby making its management easier.
“Identifying the signs and testing with a microscopic device called GFB are measures taken towards managing leprosy if detected early and immediate treatment is to be commenced when leprosy is diagnosed,” she
said. She also stressed the need to sensitise people especially those in rural communities and unclean environment on measures to take to prevent leprosy, adding that those with leprosy need to be supported as it is also a social problem.
The coordinator also urged well meaning individuals to come to the aid of persons with leprosy by empowering them and providing gadgets for those who were deformed.