Meningitis outbreak death toll hits 85 nationwide but not epidemic yet

Health authorities say a total of 140 cases of the pneumococcal meningitis have been confirmed nationwide of which 85 persons have died.

As at February 3, a total of 456 cases had been reported across the country but authorities say it is not close to declare the outbreak epidemic in any of the districts where cases have been confirmed.

Health Minister Alex Segbefia who briefed Parliament Thursday morning about the outbreak which started in December last year said ” no district in Ghana is at the epidemic stage”

Ashanti region recorded 17 reported cases of which 13 have been confirmed with six death. Brong Ahafo has 288 cases with 50 confirmed and 45 deaths followed by the Eastern with two cases which are all confirmed and two deaths.

A total of four cases have been recorded in the Greater Accra Region of which three are confirmed and two deaths, while the Northern Region has 58 cases with 20 confirmed and 19 deaths. Upper East has 35 cases, 1 death and 14 confirmed.

The Volta Region has recorded one death from the seven cases reported of which six are confirmed followed by Upper West with 43 reported cases, 20 confirmed and eight death.

Mr. Segbefia told Parliament that his ministry has observed with great concern the increasing number of the cases in some parts of the country, noting that health officials are not being complacent over the issue.

“A number of activities in the areas of surveillance, case management, laboratory testing, coordination, advocacy and social mobilization are ongoing across the country and they are beginning to bear fruit” he said.

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The Minister told the House that they have commissioned a thorough investigation into the exact causative agent of the outbreak which is identified to be mostly pneumococcal.

He said they have “provided funding support , antibiotics (ceftriaxone), laboratory test kits and logistics to the affected regions and districts.

“Intensive public awareness has started and is ongoing,” he said adding that district and regional epidemic management committees have been activated and functional.

The latest outbreak which started in December 2015 in Brohani and Seikwa communities in Tain district of Brong Ahafo region during which an initial 31 people were affected of which 9 died.

There have since been increased reports of meningitis cases due to the Streptococcus pneumonia organism in Wenchi, Techiman North, Nkoranza South and Atebubu districts in the Brong Ahafo Region, and now spread to all the Regions except in the Central Region

By Evelyn Tengmaa||Ghana