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Strange disease attacks 5 in Bong

A serious skin disease has hit Wornukai, Zota District, Bong County in Central Liberia with at least five persons reportedly affected. The disease appears to be Chickenpox, but develops into blazer when victims scratched affected parts of the body.

Though the suspected virus has not been reported at the Belifinai Clinic in the district, it has created fear among residents of Wornukai with affected individuals being barred from sharing bath materials such as soap, towers and buckets with others.

The five persons affected with the strange virus have been told to use their own soap dish in order to save those who are not affected with the disease.

A visit to the town Monday by this paper discovers that the five victims had been bathing in an unsafe creek (Nglawaya). Residents of the area usually bath in the creek that is not safe thus, causing them to contract the sickness. Those affected are mainly children, including a girl and three boys.

“We have advised the children not to bath in Nglawaya because it is not safe but they have refused to listen to us”, says Peter Gbelawoe, one of the town’s citizens.

He explains that the creek is usually used by residents for bathing during the rainy season when it overflows. but when dry season sets in, it becomes dry with etch.

Wornukai has an estimated population of nine hundred and seventy-five (975) inhabitants, according to the 2008 National Census. About seven children are said to have bathed in the water since last week, but only five have been affected.

Mr. Gbelawoe says due to the distance from the town to the Belefinai clinic, they have resorted to using traditional medicine to get rid of the disease.

“If the traditional medicine cannot solve the problem, we will take them to the clinic on next market day”, a mother of one of the victims sorrowfully adds.

Recently the Public Health Institute of Liberia or NPHIL in collaboration with the Ministry of Health reported a strange skin disease here that has reportedly spread to five counties, afflicting about 2,000 persons.

The plague, which appears like rash on the skin rapidly spreads when scratched, creating panic among locals. Dr. Ralph Jetoh of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia said investigation was ongoing to establish cause of the disease in the country.

He explained the skin disease has hit Grand Bassa, Bong, and Margibi, Rivercess and Montserrado Counties, respectively, reporting that Montserrado County has the highest infected cases.

Surveillance officers engaged various infected communities and the counties respectively, and laboratory test was said to be underway.According to him, the affliction could be equated to scabies easily transmitted by clothes or bodily contact, noting that those that are affected will have to get rid of clothes they are now using or disinfect them.

“We can say it is scabies because some cases in Grand Bassa were managed by the BB Lotion, a cream that heals lot of skin diseases, and it worked on a lot of people.”, Dr. Jetoh added.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Gbarnga-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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