Control of konzo in DRC using the wetting method on cassava flour




Banea, J P
Nahimana, G
Mandombi, C.
Bradbury, James
Denton, Ian
Kuwa, N

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Pergamon Press


Fifty konzo cases were identified in four villages in Popokabaka Health Zone, DRC. One third of people had only one meal per day, mainly of cassava flour consumed as a thick porridge (fufu) and pounded, boiled cassava leaves. Retention of cyanogens in flour resulted from short soaking of cassava roots. A 1.5. years intervention was made in the largest village Kay Kalenge, where the wetting method was taught to all women of the village, who accepted it willingly. The total cyanide content of cassava flour was reduced to below 10. ppm. Fufu from treated flour tasted and stored better than fufu from untreated flour. The mean urinary thiocyanate content of 100 school children reduced from 332 to 130. μmole/L and the number of samples exceeding 350. μmole/L decreased from 26 to 0 during the intervention. No new konzo cases occurred, which included two dry seasons when konzo peaks. Konzo was first identified by Dr. Trolli in 1938 in Popokabaka Health Zone and it has now been prevented for the first time in the same area. The methodology is now in use in Boko Health Zone and we believe it is the most effective way to control konzo in tropical Africa.



Keywords: cyanide; thiocyanate; adolescent; adult; article; cassava; child; controlled study; cooking; dry season; female; flour; food intake; fufu; human; konzo; major clinical study; male; motor neuron disease; onset age; paralysis; plant leaf; plant root; presch Cassava flour; Cyanide; Konzo; S-containing amino acids; Urinary thiocyanate; Wetting method



Food and Chemical Toxicology


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