269 die in meningitis outbreak

Posted by News Express | 30 March 2017 | 1,254 times

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•Photo by BBC shows a Nigerian child being vaccinated against meningitis.

No fewer than 269 Nigerians have been killed in the last few weeks by meningitis, across the country. And in Zamfara, where death toll was as high as 80, residents of Gusau, have appealed for government help to prevent the disease.

The appeal was made by a cross section of residents interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria.

Earlier this March, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Gummi, said over 80 people had died as a result of the disease while another 500 were undergoing treatment at various health facilities across the 14 local government areas of the state.

The people interviewed were of the view that the situation has worsened, although they could not cite figures.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said, about 269 people have been killed in recent weeks by meningitis.

As at Monday, 1,828 suspected cases of meningitis were reported with 269 deaths in 15 of the country’s 36 states, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

Mallam Bello Aliyu, a civil servant said that the rate at which meningitis has been killing both young and adult in Zamfara state was worrisome.

Aliyu said that his neighbor, a 35-year-old man recently died of meningitis and some of his family members had been infected as well.

Hajiya Salamatu Isa, a school teacher also complained about how her four year-old daughter died of meningitis, which she said was due to lack of vaccine.

She said that the disease became rampant in February and that she tried her best to immunise all the members of her family, but due to non-availability of the vaccine, she could not. The inadequacy of vaccines, she said killed several people, including her daughter.

Dr Oyaromade Abidemi, a consultant obstetrician, Head of Clinical Services, Ahmad Sani, Yerima Bakura specialist hospital, Gusau, said the disease was under control.

Dr Abidemi said that the state government and Medicin San Frontieres MSF nongovernmental organisation donated some drugs to the hospital, for the treatment of patients suffering from meningitis.

He said that 80 percent of meningitis patients that were taken to the hospital at early stage had been treated and discharged, while those that were seriously affected before being taken to the hospital have 50 percent chances of survival.

The doctor however said that the hospital had not gotten any vaccine to give the public to prevent meningitis.

Some medical personnel from Federal Medical Center Gusau, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the disease had affected many children and adults to the extent that 80 percent of the patients in the ward were suffering from meningitis.

NAN also gathered that both the state government and nongovernmental organization had been distributing antibiotics to hospitals in the state, for the treatment of the affected people, but vaccines are scarce.

At the two major hospitals in Gusau, Ahmad Sani Yerima Bakura specialist hospital and Federal Medical Center Gusau, there were hundreds of patients suffering from the disease, awaiting treatment.

Earlier this March, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Gummi said over 80 people had died as a result of the disease while another 500 were undergoing treatment at various health facilities across the 14 local government areas of the state.

An outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria has killed 269 people in recent weeks, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said, as Africa’s most populous country and aid organisations attempt to tackle the surge in infections.

As at Monday, 1,828 suspected cases of meningitis were reported with 269 deaths in 15 of the country’s 36 states, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

The centre said on its website that 33 people died of meningitis in 2016.

More than 2,000 people died from an outbreak of the disease in Nigeria in 2009, with basic healthcare limited in rural parts of the country, where most people live on less than $2 a day, despite the country’s huge oil resources.

Meningitis is the inflammation of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord which can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. It spreads mainly through kisses, sneezes, coughs and in close living quarters.

The NCDC said it was now working with the World Health Organisation, the U.N. Children’s Fund and Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, to try to control the outbreak. (NAN)


Source: News Express

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