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CKDu spreads to North Western Province

2013 Oct 28

By  Prabhani Ranaweera  

Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origin (CDKu), which has plagued the entire North Central, and Uva Provinces is spreading swiftly to Yapahuwa in the North Western Province amidst futile efforts by Health authorities to control the situation. 

“Approximately 1,700 patients are presently registered with the Renal Clinic of Padaviya Hospital,” said District Medical Officer (DMO) of Padaviya Dr. Dissanayake. “Around 200 patients are in a critical stage where they need a dialysis on a regular basis. But since the disease is spreading rapidly the current facilities are inadequate.”

He also said that the hospital along with the Ministry of Health has been organizing screening tests to detect the disease in its early stages before it gets worse. The World Health Organization estimates that over 8,000 people are currently receiving treatment in various parts of the country for CDKu.

A team of researchers from the Chemistry Department of University of Kelaniya had visited the worse affected areas to study the disease. Members of the team have identified some causes which are suspected to be reasons for CDKu. 

Head of the Chemistry Department Prof Priyani Paranagama said that they observed pigmentations in the sole and palm of patients with CKDu.

According to her, ‘Arsenic’ can be the reason for those pigmentations. “We checked the samples of urine and hair of those affected people in order to confirm the presence of arsenic,” said Priyani. She revealed that those specimens contained arsenic above the accepted level.

However, according to Priyani, this is not similar to the arsenic toxicity readings which were recorded in Bangladesh and India. 

The team also suspects that drinking water can also be a cause for CDKu. Based on their evaluations 99 percent of CDKu patients drink well-water where the hardness is 200-1000 ppm. (parts per million). According to the WHO guidelines, soft water which we drink should be less than 60 ppm. If it is more than 181 ppm, then it is called very hard water and all the wells in those affected areas contain very hard 


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