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General News
Epilepsy is not infectious -Essuman 2/12/2012

Accra, Feb. 9, GNA – Mr Lawrence Essuman, Vice President of Psycho Health Foundation, a mental health NGO, has appealed to Ghanaians not to shy away from epileptic patients since the disease is not infectious.

He said epilepsy was a neurological disease, which happened in the heads of epileptic patients and their foam or saliva which is seen on their mouths could not cause an infection.

“There is no way a person can get infected with epilepsy by eating, shaking hands or even touching the saliva or foam of an affected person,” he said.

Mr Essuman who made the call in an interview with Ghana News Agency on Thursday, said falling, biting of the tongue and passing of urine or faeces were some of the characteristics of epileptic patients.

He said the rest include becoming stiff and shaking, foaming at the mouth, pale or bluish lips and loss of memory or confusion after an attack.

Mr Essuman said one out of every 100 people in the world were affected by the disease, adding that it was predominant in persons under 30 years and people who were mentally retarded.

He said bleeding or cancer in the head, high or low levels of salt or sugar in the body, excessive use of alcohol and other illicit drugs, lack of oxygen to the foetus of pregnant women and any tumour on the body could be the source of the disease.

Mr Essuman appealed to people who had fallen under an epileptic attack to undertake routine medical check-up and always take their drugs adding that this was especially important for people who got their first seizure after 30 years, as their epilepsy is more likely to be caused by any physical illness.

He appealed to corporate organisations to support the Foundation financially to enable it to carry out its activities.

Mr Seidu Jinkor, Public Relations Officer of the Foundation, said although the disease was a long term one, it could be controlled adding that epileptic patients could live normal lives, get married and have children as well as work.

He said amongst the things they cannot do include, driving, swimming alone and working with heavy machinery.

Mr Jinkor advised epileptic patients to always keep records of dates of seizures, to help their doctors to diagnose the right medication and prescribe the exact dosage of drugs.

He advised them to rest, sleep and exercise regularly, and refrain from taking alcohol and avoid extreme physical exercises and situations that could lead to sudden tension or stress adding that they should inform their doctors anytime they decided to have babies since some of the drugs used in treating the disease could harm unborn babies.

He said “if you feel like having a seizure, lie down on your side and place something soft, such as a folded towel, under your head in order to stop you from harming yourself.”

He called on Ghanaians to disabuse their minds of the notion that the disease was infectious.

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