KATHMANDU, July 20: Two new cases of leprosy have been detected in slums of Kathmandu during a search carried out recently by Leprosy Control Division (LCD) under Department of Health Services (DHS).
The search was carried out at four municipalities and Kathmandu metropolis to ascertain the existing prevalence rate of the disease.
The disease which causes lesion on the skin and attacks nerves and sometimes caused disabilities and deformities can be treated by antibiotics. The disease was officially declared eliminated in January, 2010 by the government.
The District Public Health Office (DPHO), Kathmandu said that 50 female community health volunteers (FCHV) were deployed to haunt infected people in three slum settlements. “Two cases were positive and sample of third suspecte has been sent abroad for further investigation,” Chief of division Chudamani Bhandari said. He said treatment of the two had started. He said there could be more such cases in the capital because of the city´s high population.
The FCHV´s had gone door to door of every households in the slum settlement of Sankhamul, Balaju and Tinkune areas. “Both infected were from Dalit community and they were unaware of the disease,” Padam KC, Leprosy Officer at division, said.
KC said four new cases were identified at Ratnanagar municipality of Chitwan. No new case was found in Butwal municipality while the result of Lahan and Mechinagar municipalities are yet to come.
According to division, prevalence rate of the disease has also increased by 0.2 percent after official announcement of elimination. Currently prevalence rate of the disease is 0.79percent in 10,000population which was only 0.77 percent at the time of declaration of elimination.
The office said that Bara, Jhapa, Banke, Dhanusha, Rautahat, Kailali, Morang, Bardia, Sarlahi, Rupendehi, Mahottari, Chitwan, Parsa and Sunsari have high prevalence rate. In these districts more than one among 10,000 populations are infected by the disease. 3,142 new patients were identified across the country last year of which 5.9 percent were children.
“For the intervention of existing transmission rate we have to bring program focusing people living in slum settlements,” KC said. He said that division will asked donor agencies for assistance to run additional program.
“We cannot bring additional new program due to constraints of budget. So we are seeking help from our agencies who are coordinating with us to eliminate disease,” he added.