A Ghanaian US Board Certified doctor, Dr. Clarence Addo-Yobo has raised a red flag over the purported surgical procedure being planned for victims of what is now dubbed the “Adaklu Hernia”.
He cautioned against such a procedure because “it is very dangerous and could lead to loss of lives”.
In an interview with Daily Guide, he explained that considering the fact that the surgery would entail the removal of large quantities of blood and fluid from the bodies of the victims, there could be fatalities.
Explaining further, he said the condition is a form of elephantiasis occasioned by a lymphatic obstruction known medically as lymphatic filariasis.
“The amount of blood and fluid circulating in the scrotum of the victims is about a quarter of the same amount in their bodies. It would lead to the loss of sodium and potassium in the body, leading to a possible electrolyte imbalance.
“Considering the fact that the surgery would entail the removal of blood and electrolytes from the bodies of the victims, some patients could succumb during the procedure” he disclosed, recommending that all hands must be on deck to remedy the situation.
“There should be no unilateral action in this case. General surgeons and others at Korle-Bu should be contacted to offer their support on what to do instead of what is being envisaged.”
He added that even though some hydroceles may need surgical procedures, he advised that physicians managing the conditions may contact the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA or the London School of Tropical Medicine for assistance.
Dr. Addo-Yobo said Phillipinos and Malaysians have done ample work on the subject and could share their experiences with our doctors.
“There are about 80 million patients suffering from the condition worldwide.”
The current drugs being administered for the national deworming exercise, he stated, is the same required for victims of the condition, which according to him, is a form of elephantiasis and not hernia as being bandied about.
Explaining the effects of the deworming drugs on patients, he said, “Once you administer the drugs on patients, the organisms die or get injured. Their tissues disintegrate and cause allergic reaction in their hosts, human beings.”
Dr. Addo-Yobo, who has 38 years' experience up his sleeves, returned to Ghana only recently.
He had earlier, when news about the hydrocele broke, attributed the ailment to some worms transmitted by mosquitoes.
“When these insects get infected by ingesting the microfilaria, they inject these into human beings when they bite during their blood-sucking episodes.
The worms migrate to the lymphatic system of humans and may grow to about 2-3 mm, taking about 6 to 12 months before they can be detected in the blood system.”
The lymphatic system may be enlarged, especially the lymph nodes and the death of many of these worms may cause extensive local swellings and even abscess, he pointed out.
Progression of the disease, he went on, may result in what is called obstructive lymphatigitis, resulting in large hydrocele which people erroneously refer to as hernia.
“Women may experience inguinal hernia or a swelling or enlargement of the breasts, which may mimic cancer as another form of the disease.
“Some men on the other hand may experience slimy, fatty fluid discharge through the urinary system.”
Fifty four men, women and children have been affected by the disease in the Adaklu Anyigbe district of the Volta Region from where it has spread to other parts of the surrounding areas.
Some male victims of the disease are carrying scrotums the size of fully inflated football; and recently one of the victims succumbed to death.