HEALTH officials called on the public yesterday to remain vigilant against the possible resurgence of the filariasis disease in Cebu and Central Visayas.
In yesterday’s Kapihan sa Philippine Information Agency (PIA) forum, Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato said that the vector mosquitoes which carry the parasite filarial worms that cause the disease remain rampant in forested, mountain rural barangays.
Central Visayas has been declared filariasis-free, but Dr. Buscato said that these mosquitoes thrive on plants that have natural pockets of water where they often reside in.
Left unchecked, the mosquitoes often bite their victims on their exposed arms and legs, causing skin irritation and rashes.
If bitten several times, the victims may experience elephantiasis which is marked by extreme swelling of the affected body part.
Buscato said the swelling can be removed only through cosmetic surgery.
Buscato said those who live near people who test positive for filariasis are also treated for five years until their symptoms are cured.
He said they conduct night tests on those residents for three straight evenings to get an accurate diagnosis.
“The (mosquitoes) are very active at night. If we do blood smear during daytime, we won’t have any results,” he told the reporters.
Buscato said residents in rural areas should clean their areas of stagnant water and apply mosquito repellent if available to protect themselves.
November was declared National Filariasis Awareness Month based on a 2004 executive order to help raise public awareness on the disease and ways to cure people afflicted with it. /USC Intern Gavin Michael Cubillo