13 January 2009

Uganda: Meningitis Cases Increase in Hoima

Kampala — THE number of patients admitted in Hoima district with suspected meningitis has increased to 34 since the outbreak was first reported last week.

Paul Kaggwa, the assistant commissioner for health education and promotion in the Ministry of Health, on Monday said 27 cases were first reported last Monday in Kigorobya sub-county.

Kaggwa added that three cases had been confirmed to be meningitis, while nine deaths had been reported.

He added that 42 people were admitted with meningitis in Arua district.

Kaggwa said two cases were confirmed to be meningitis, while nine deaths had occurred. He, however, added that the ministry could not confirm whether or not the deaths were due to meningitis.

Last week, the health ministry identified the Hoima outbreak to be the meningococcal meningitis which is caused by a bacteria and is transmitted from person-to-person through contact with throat secretions.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which is the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The ministry said overcrowding, keeping in close contact with patients, living in congested and poorly ventilated premises aids the spread of the disease.

Kaggwa said the Ministry of Health had embarked on a mobilisation drive to sensitise the communities in the two districts to avoid congestion within their homes.

"We are on an active surveillance and the situation is being observed seriously," Kaggwa said.

Meningitis last broke out in Hoima in February 2008. During the last outbreak, six people died and many people were admitted in hospitals.

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