A strange disease which broke out in Chief Matipa’s area in Chilubi district in the Northern Province described as life threatening has been identified as cerebral malaria by health expert.
Chilubi District Medical Officer (CDMO) Ernest Mutale dispelled the rumour spreading out in the area that the disease was caused by Satanism but described it as severe malaria.
Dr Mutale has since advised on the community to visit rural health centers other than going to the traditional healers for treatment as reported.
Dr. Mutale told ZANIS in Luwingu in a telephone interview that the suspected strange disease was merely cerebral malaria which can be treated at health centers.
He dispelled the rumour that the ailment which was described by the villagers as a disease coming from witchcraft and Satanism was a severe condition of malaria.
Dr Mutale said about 45 patients have since been diagnosed with cerebral malaria which the local community described to be a condition of madness.
“Cerebral malaria is a rapidly developing encephalopathy, but much pathology of this is not clearly understood by the community. Malaria occurs in many people, but only 20-50 % of them develop into cerebral malaria” he added.
Dr Mutale explained that cerebral malaria develops when Parasitized Red Blood Cells (PRBC) adhere to the cerebral microvasculature, causing blockage of the blood pathways.
This blockage stops blood flow, leading to a shortage of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Dr Mutale said that a common cause of death for patients with cerebral malaria is acute respiratory arrest which may be as a result of the intracranial pressure causing a fatal brain damage.
Meanwhile a resident, Musyani Simukanga told ZANIS in Luwingu that the disease has mainly affected the people of Kasansa Island east of Chilubi Island.
He said the affected people are suffering from a condition which looks like madness and this has made people in the area to panic.
Meanwhile, Mr Simukanga also disclosed that villagers have run amok and beat up their traditional ruler accusing him of not taking the matter seriously and failure to report to relevant authorities.
The villagers have since named some suspected people to be behind the spread of the sickness through their witchcraft.
And Dr Mutale confirmed that the behaviour of the local people of threatening to beat up nurses and medical practitioners is common in that area adding it could be true that the chief in the area was beaten.
Dr Mutale has however assured the community that their concern is being treated as a matter of urgency.