Ghana on high alert as death from pneumococcal meningitis increase

The death toll in the recent outbreak of Pneumococcal meningitis in some regions across the country seems to be on the increase.

At least 33 lives have so far been lost as a result of the disease.

The Health Ministry has also announced that 153 people have been infected in the Brong Ahafo, Northern and Ashanti regions.

In a bid to contain the spread of the disease, the Health Ministry has stepped up its campaign in the affected areas while it seeks support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to handle the outbreak.

Pneumococcal meningitis occurs when bacteria known as the meninges invades the bloodstream and infect the membranes protecting the brain and the spinal cord. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord.

The Brong Ahafo region is the worst affected with 6 of its districts recording increasing cases as of Saturday.

The first reported death emerged from the Tain district in the in December but spread to Wenchi, Techiman, Bruohan, Kintampo, and Sene.

A fresh outbreak of the disease in the Bole in the Northern region also claimed five lives. Six more people in the Techiman district of the Brong Ahafo region died of the deadly disease last week.

The latest deaths of two people were recorded in the Offinso Municipality in the Ashanti region on Saturday.

Joy News’ Matilda Wemegah was at a media briefing organised by the Ministry and reports that a meeting with the various regional and district health committees to find out ways to contain the spread has been called.

Also, the Health Ministry is intensifying its education and community-based surveillance in the affected communities.

Deputy Health Minister, Victor Bampoe who addressed the media said the ministry is putting in place all measures necessary to ensure that the disease does not get out of hand.

He also assured that health workers will not be affected by the disease if the necessary precautionary measures are taken.

Dr Bampoe said there is no evidence to support the fact that there is transfer from the patient to health workers.

“In all the epidemics that we have had, we don’t have any established cases of health workers getting the CSM transferred to them.

“We are confident that if health workers employ the nose mask and the normal barrier nursing methods, then they should not be at risk, so that is not an issue,” he added.

The most pressing issue, according the deputy minister, is finding the cases early and ensuring that patients report early to the hospital for rapid treatment.

In the Brong Ahafo region, however, residents are living in a state of panic, Joy News’ Anass Sabit Anass reports.

Fortunately, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of new cases reported and health officials are confident of controlling the spread.

Anass also said sensitisation and education on the disease have been intensified.

The WHO has already supplied laboratory equipment and has indicated that it will continue to support government with the needed antibiotics to contain the spread.

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