Silicosis, an infection of the lungs, is reported to have become common in the twin-town of Konongo and Odumase in the Asante-Akim Central Municipality claiming the lives of many, particularly small scale miners.

This has been attributed to the inhalation of silica-filled-dust from the crushing of rocks containing gold ore.

Dr William Nana Arhin Thompson, Medical Superintendent at the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the situation was growing and had become a major public health concern.

He noted that the miners normally showed little or no regard for health safety and often failed to cover their noses.

Dr Thompson said it required some urgent attention given the growing attraction of illegal mining to the unemployed youth in the area.

He said the infection although not treatable was preventable and that it was important for people whose jobs bring them into contact with silica in the sand to accept to do the right thing by wearing noses guards.

This way, he said, they would be saved from developing the silicosis disease, an infection that also predisposes them to Tuberculosis.

Dr Thompson said about five patients who reported to the facility with the disease died annually.

Those having the infection are not likely to live beyond one year, he said.

Source: GNA

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