Guyana hopes to be filarial-free by 2010

Guyana Chronicle

July 26, 2003

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Guyana is hoping that Thursday’s launching of DEC salt will make the country filarial-free in another seven years.

When he officiated at a launching ceremony at Merriman’s Mall, Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy hailed the use of DEC salt in Guyana as a public victory. And he expected greater strides to be made by September, when a programme is launched to sensitize Guyanese to the importance of being more health conscious.

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched DEC Salt in Guyana.

The Minister said he was confident that by 2010 Guyana would be certified free from Filarial, commonly known in Guyana as filarial or ‘big foot.’

Also making a presentation was Dr. Bernadette Theodore - Ghandi, PAHO/WHO representative, who outlined the importance of DEC salt in fighting the disease.

Points to be taken into consideration are:
· DEC Salt is regular salt fortified with DEC, which quickly kills the threadlike worms that live in the blood

· Secondly, the salt will not make you sick, it is very safe and there are no side effects.

· It should be used when preparing and cooking foods.

· The salt is iodized and does not change the flavour of food.

· It prevents people from becoming infected with the disease, but will not cure persons who are already showing signs of the disease.

· The disease’s name is Lymphatic Filarial and is caused by small worms that live in the blood.

· In Guyana it is commonly called bigfoot and elephantitis.

· The disease is passed around by way of mosquito bites and can be passed to a normal person once the same mosquito that bit the infected bites that person.

· Affected persons show signs of swelling in the leg, swelling of the scrotum, swelling of the arm, swelling of the breast, urine becomes a milky colour.

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