December 5, 2022

LAGAWE, Ifugao – The Provincial Health Office is intensifying leprosy detection and awareness to reduce the prevalence of the disease in the province.
Nicanor Tayaban, PHO Leprosy Program coordinator, enjoined health workers and other stakeholders to help in the detection of leprosy and assist in the proper management and supervision of a leprosy patient’s medication to prevent relapse.
Leprosy is a skin disease that affects the nerves and mucus membrane caused by germs called Mycobacterium leprae. It can be transferred by inhaled droplets from infected person through sneezing and coughing.
The incubation period is three to 15 years from the time of acquisition from any infected person.
Tayaban said leprosy can be cured with no damaging results if diagnosed early and treated properly.
“Once regular medication starts after one month, the disease is not already transferable,” Tayaban said.   
But if left untreated, it may cause severe physical disabilities and emotional distress.
To reduce the prevalence of the disease, the PHO in partnership with other healthcare providers is intensifying leprosy awareness and case detection.
Among the ways to reduce leprosy prevalence are proper administration, management, and supervision of multi-drug therapy medication; and proper recording, reporting, and monitoring of cases in the different municipalities.
“Please refer immediately to your barangay/municipal health workers in case of any suspected leprosy disease for early diagnosis and treatment to avoid transmission, complications, or disabilities,” he said.
Tayaban said Ifugao recorded 31 leprosy cases from 2009 to 2020.  
Among the signs and symptoms of leprosy are pale or reddish skin, loss or decrease of sensation in the skin patch, numbness/tingling and weakness of the hands or feet, painful or tender nerves, swelling or lumps in the face or earlobes, painless wounds or burns on the hands or feet, and no sweat and no hair on the affected area.
The third week of February is declared as “Kilatis Kutis” Awareness Week. – Marcelo B. Lihgawon