Virologist warns traditional healers against use of incision, scarification in treatment

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Ilorin – Prof. Olatunji Kolawole of the Department of Microbiology, University of Ilorin, has warned medical practitioners to stop the use of scarification marks as a method .

Kolawole gave the warning his research paper entitled: “Transcending the viral world: A tale of mimicry, knockdown and knockout”.

Scarification Nigeria is for identification and medication and it involves a long and painful process, where the skin is cut or pierced with a sharp object or hot instrument, leaving scars on the affected area.

Scarification tradition still persists in the country until date. It is used in healing for children suffer strange illnesses at infancy, marked with these incisions to cure them from the ailment and ward off future attacks.

Kolawole, while speaking on prevalence of Hepatitis C (HCV) in the country, especially among mothers and pre- age children, said that study have shown a correlation between scarification and HCV prevalence.

He stated that scarification was also shown to be a risk factor associated with Hepatitis B, with greater health challenges.

“Nigeria is in the region with high prevalence of HBV and HCV. There are many unvaccinated women in childbearing age are at risk of these infections.

“It is important to note that infection by HBV and HCV early in life underscores the potential of adding to the burden of viral Hepatitis and its attending complication of hepatocellular carcinoma later in life,” he said.

Kolawole described HBC as Ban infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation.

He added that the virus is spread by contact with contaminated blood, such as sharing needles or from unsterile tattoo or scarification equipment.