Dermatologists go skin deep into Vitiligo

World Vitiligo Day observed in Mysuru

Dermatologists go skin deep into Vitiligo

Medical Superintendent of K R Hospital Dr B G Sagar, on Thursday, asserted that vitiligo (white patches on skin) has turned into a social malaise owing to the stigma attached to it.

Addressing the gathering during World Vitiligo Day, organised under the auspices of Indian Dermatologists Society, Mysuru unit, at the department of Dermatology at the hospital here, Dr Sagar cited the deeply ingrained beliefs among the people.

“Whenever a drought like situation is witnessed, especially in North Karnataka, people resort to exhuming the body of the dead, who were infected with the disease, and cremating it. It is believed that, by cremating those bodies, the rain god could be appeased to ward off drought”, he said.

While alive also, such people are isolated manner and it is no more a secret that people enquire about it while matching alliances for marriages.

HoD, Dermatology, Dr B L Nanjunda Swamy said, “Vitiligo is not a communicable disease and is not life threatening. It will also not affect the longevity of the people. There are adequate medicines and could be treated”.

He said, “When a white patch is noticed on the body, people should be aware of it and consult the doctors. It may help avert further spread of the patches and a research foundation has done enormous work on it.  In the case of children, it may take long to cure, while in the case of adults they may need six months to two years.

Swamy said, renowned dancer Michael Jackson was also infected with vitiligo and the day of his death is observed as World Vitiligo Day.

Dr Ashwini explained that a living cell identified as melanosite causes white patches as and when the cells inside the body begin to die. However, the reasons for destruction of cells inside the body are yet to be ascertained. 

Only one per cent of the total population is vulnerable to the infection and is noticed more among the people in the age group of 25 to 30 years.

The doctor clarified, it is not a genetical disease and is noticed on face, forearm, lips and around the eyes. Some of the victims are driven towards depression owing to the taboo attached to it.

Medical Superintendent of Cheluvamba Hospital Dr Radhamani decried the society for treating such infected people as untouchables.

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