8 March 2019

Nigeria: 13 Die in Suspected Meningitis Outbreak in Katsina Community

Katsina — No fewer than 13 people lost their lives in an outbreak of communicable disease suspected to be meningitis at Karfi Village in Malumfashi local government area of Katsina State.

It was gathered that 12 of the victims died at their home while one out of the three persons rushed to the Primary Health Care (PHC) Centre in the village reportedly lost his life while receiving treatment at the health facility.

The PHC coordinator of the area, Lawal Dabai, was said to have made this known while briefing the state Emergency Preparedness Response Team that visited the affected community.

Consequently, the state medical team had mobilised to the area to contain the spread of the disease, the permanent secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr Kabir Mustapha, told LEADERSHIP Friday, yesterday.

"On the issue of Karfi, we heard people died in the village but unless there is isolation of that disease-causing-organism, you cannot say it is meningitis but if it is meningitis, for you to be able to manage it in terms of vaccines and what have you, you have to identify the strain because there are different strains of meningitis.

"Those that reported at the PHC and were started on the relevant drug, have recovered. To further emphasise on the level of preparedness of the state, already, we have drugs ready for any sign of any outbreak. So, the state is ever ready to move in and respond to any outbreak that comes our way," Dr Mustapha Assured.

He, however, noted that the health authorities could not ascertain if those who died in their homes were actually casualties of meningitis in the absence of the disease-causing organism being isolated.

"Unless these people take the already existing precautionary measures in the sense of immunisation, environmental hygiene and their life style, then a lot of diseases will continue to be our problem. Unless these things are tackled, we would ever continue to have problem of disease outbreak.

"It's not that these vaccines are not available, vaccines have been sent to health facilities at the lowest level, at the PHC, but you find that people don't go there, you will find continuous awareness creation like the government is doing," he warned.

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