River Blindness Eliminated From Kabarole After 26Years

The River Blindness (filaria) disease has been eliminated in Kabarole district after its 26 year siege of the western district, pilule officials delightfully announced yesterday.

Dr. Richard Mugahi, this District Health Officer (DHO) revealed at a press conference at the district offices that the disease had been defeated at last.

River Blindness was first reported in Kabarole in 1991 and since then numerous cases were reported and treated, until 2011 when no more new cases were reported.

The DHO says several tests have been carried out in the recent past, samples of skin taken in the laboratory and results indicated no more infections.

Claud Philibert a Senior Vector Control Officer says the disease surveillance started in 1991 and in 1994 the local and central governments embarked on mass treatment of people.

The most affected areas he said were Kijura Town Council, Kabende and Hakibaale sub counties, which are along the Itwara Forest Reserve.

River Blindness is transmitted by the black fly worm which breeds in fast flowing water. It causes skin rashes, intense itching, skin depigmentation, blindness and epilepsy.

Statistics indicated that the prevalence of the disease was standing at 84percent for every 100 people tested.

Locals however, have been advised to remain on the alert and to contact their VHTs when they spot signs of the epidemic.

According to Richard Okwir from the Ministry of Health, River Blindness also has been eliminated in the districts of Ibanda, Kamwenge, Mitoma, Bulisa, Kibaale and the Mt. Elgon region.

He commended the leadership of Kabarole for embracing the campaign to sensitize people to accept the treatment and the Charter Center Organization for donating the expensive drugs to wipe out the disease.

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