Arsenic Levels In Borehole Water, Surface Water, Surface Water Sediment and Soil Within 100 M Radius of Boreholes from Buruli Ulcer Endemic Areas in the Sekyere South District of Ashanti Region, Ghana.

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Buruli ulcer (BU) is a human skin disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU). It is an emerging infectious disease for which there exists a great amount of uncertainty concerning its mode of infection. It is theorized that there may be a link between arsenic ingestion and incidence of MU infection. This study measured the levels of arsenic in river water, river sediment, borehole water and soil within 100 m radius of boreholes, and occurrence of BU in the Sekyere South District of the Ashanti Region, Ghana. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry analysis was used in the determination of the arsenic concentrations in the samples and data for BU occurrences were collected from the District Health Directorate and through surveys conducted. Of the 38 communities studied in the District 15 were BU endemic and BU occurrences were higher than what was officially recorded. Only 5.26% of the communities sampled had their borehole water samples having arsenic concentrations above 10.0 µg /l. There was also a strong positive correlation (r = 0.66) between mean arsenic concentrations in surface water samples and occurrences of BU for the 15 BU endemic communities in the District. It was also observed that the pH of some of the boreholes in some of the communities was very acidic (4.18) and could lead to high concentrations of ions of toxic metals such as iron and cupper. Results also indicated that the farmers in the Sekyere South District did not use protective clothing on their farms, even while applying agrochemicals.
A Thesis submitted to Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science,