Sokoto, March 26, 2017 (TNE): The death toll as a result of the meningitis epidemic in Sokoto State has now risen to 21, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale said on Sunday in Sokoto.
Kakale said the deaths were recorded in seven local government areas of Kebbe, Bodinga, Rabah, Wamakko, Gada, Dange/Shuni and Tureta, mostly affected by the meningitis outbreak.
”The state government had since Monday deployed no fewer than 15 medical teams, comprising over 150 medical personnel.
”They were deployed across the 23 local governments of the state, fully equipped with ambulances and provided with free drugs, as well as medicament.
”The emergency response teams were conducting house-to-house search, definition and management, both at home and the hospitals.
”They have so far treated no fewer than 330 mixed cases of severe malaria and meningitis across the seven top-hit local governments.
”Out of the 330 cases, 40 were confirmed in the laboratories to be cases of meningitis, out of which 14 fatalities were recorded.
”These 14 deaths excluded the seven deaths earlier recorded in parts of Gada local government of Gada local government,” the commissioner said.
He noted that thousands of other cases were treated at the Primary Health Centres in the local governments.
Kakale said there were some “imported cases” from Koko in Kebbi State, which compounded the epidemic.
He also observed that traditional belief in witchcraft was making fighting the disease difficult, with some families refusing to take their suspected patients to the hospital.
”You will see suspected cases having symptoms of meningitis like vomiting, high fever, headache and stiffness of the neck, but they will not be conveyed to the health facilities.
”The people of the state should disregard rumours of witchcraft and take all suspected persons to the hospitals early.
”Keeping them at home will only worsen disease case and cause transmission to other members of the family.
”The residents should also reduce the number of those to take care of confirmed patients, avoid sleeping in overcrowded rooms, as well as to ensure personal and environmental hygiene,” Kakale advised.
The Nigerian Expression reports that meningitis is acute inflammation of the protective membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord, known collectively as meninges.
The most common symptoms are fever, headache and neck stiffness. Other symptoms include confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting and inability to tolerate light or loud noises.
Young children often exhibit non-specific symptoms such as irritability, drowsiness or poor feeding. Meningitis is common in the northern part of Nigeria during excessive heat or during the hot season. (TNE)