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Sickle cell: Expert urges regular vaccination of patients to prevent bone death


By Suleiman Shehu


Ibadan   –   Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, says regular vaccination of people suffering from sickle cell anaemia will prevent complications arising from bone death.

Alonge, who is a professor of orthopaedic and trauma surgery, said this on Friday at the 2017/2018 inaugural lecture delivered at the University of Ibadan.

He underscored the need for the regular vaccination of sickle cell patients so as to prevent them from experiencing bone death caused by bacterial infection.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture is entitled: “Arrest the First Leg of the Quartet: Bone Infarction or Bone Infection’’.

Alonge said that about three to four per cent of the Nigerian population suffered from sickle cell anaemia, adding that the number of those with the disorder was quite substantial.

The professor said that sickle cell patients often had bone pain crises throughout their lifetime, adding that whenever such crises occurred, it was often difficult to determine the actual cause of the bone pain.

He said that the appropriate process was to treat the bone pain of sickle cell patients with the proper antibiotics and prevent it from becoming chronic osteomyelitis – a severe bone pain problem caused by infection.

“You may make wrong diagnosis if you do not know the actual cause of the pain.

“The bone pain of sickle cell patients are in four stages; it is, therefore, better to diagnose and treat the bone pain at the first stage before it manifests in the second stage, which may lead to bone death.

“We have come up with simple techniques that can enable medical practitioners to differentiate between bone pain caused by infarction and one not caused by infection.

“There should be a sickle vogue that allows the patients to have regular immunisation and vaccination against the organisms which their bodies cannot recognise,’’ he said.

Alonge, however, called for the establishment of sickle cell centres across the country where sickle cell patients could receive good medical treatment.

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