KOCHI: Hinting that leprosy is far from being eradicated in Kerala, the campaign, Aswamedham, conducted by District Medical Office and National Health Mission in December last year, had found 14 cases in Ernakulam. While a few of them were migrant labourers, the remaining were residents, proving that the disease is still going undiagnosed and untreated in the district.
“Since the bacteria that cause the disease has a long incubation period, it is rarely detected early. By then, the disease would have spread. We want to contain that situation. That’s why we are embarking on the second phase of ‘Aswamedham’,” says Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO) S Sreedevi.
The 14-day long second phase will begin on Monday. As part of the drive, volunteers will
embark on a survey. “A two-member team will visit homes all over the district to collect information.
They will have flashcards with pictures of leprosy cases from the district. Anyone with similar symptoms will be identified and treated,” said the ADMO.
A vehicle to spread awareness on the malady will also ply across the district. Audio clips on the symptoms, in other languages, will be circulated among the migrant population in the district. According to the ADMO, the disease, which was presumed eradicated, is rearing its head because it is rarely diagnosed these days. “Since the number of cases has come down, not many doctors are exposed to the disease. Naturally, many fail to diagnose it in the early stage. Only dermatologists identify it easily,” said the ADMO.