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PIA Press Release

WHO declares Bukidnon 'filariasis-free'

by Ruby Leonora R. Balistoy

Malaybalay City, Bukidnon (18 June) -- The Provincial Health Office (PHO) announced yesterday that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Bukidnon as 'Filaria-Free' province. Dr. Josephine Ibalio who heads the Mosquito-Borne Diseases Department said Bukidnon made it after meeting up the criteria set by the WHO.

These include the following judging standards: The prevalence rate of the disease should be less than one percent in identified areas. There should be no positive among children aged two to four years old who were tested, and that there should be no positive among the 3,000 new school entrants.

Filariasis or Elephantiasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes affecting rural areas.

The parasites lodge into the lymphatic system, an essential component of the body's immune defense system and disrupt the lymphatic flow of the blood thereby rendering the person prone to infections and acute attacks. It also causes disfiguration of limbs and swelling of body parts such as the genitals. Symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, chills, wheezing and pain and swelling in the arms, breast, scrotum, penis, vulva and legs.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Teresita Damasco disclosed that before the aforesaid declaration, a Filariasis Team conducted blood sampling to children aged 6 to 7 years old in various towns of the province.

"This is to see if there is still a positive indication of the dreaded disease. The Regional Filariasis team, however, found the blood smear examinations from the children to be negative," she said.

"With full support from our partners like the Del Monte Philippines, Glaxo-Smiths & Kline, Department of Education and Local Government Units especially the barangay health workers, we are celebrating this milestone to show the world that filariasis can be beaten," Damasco added.

For her part, PHO Information Officer Perla Dinlayan stressed that the success in the campaign on the elimination of mosquito-borne diseases in Bukidnon is due to the untiring support of our media partners, health advocates and all health workers in the province.

The PHO Technical Office is now in the process of planning a big bang celebration for this big achievement on Filariasis-Free Zone by last week of June. Secretary Esperanza Cabral and other dignitaries from DOH Central and Regional Offices will be coming to Bukidnon for the inaugural program. (PIA Bukidnon) [top]

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