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Anxiety in Abuja as Meningitis spreads

The Health Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory has yet to receive any report on outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis in the area.

Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Health Care Development Board, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, vaccinating a child

Alice Achu, the Acting Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat of the territory, made the remark in Abuja on Monday, April 3, 2017.

Achu denied an earlier report credited to the Executive Secretary of Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Rilwan Mohammed, that five cases had been recorded.

According to her, for meningitis to be confirmed, a patient has to undergo clinical fluid test through which the disease can be identified.

Achu said: “Most of the diseases like malaria, urinary tract infection and others have the same symptom but the only way is to have laboratory fluid test which those who were reported dead did not go through.

“We had eight suspected cases, six died, and two treated but none underwent the test to confirm that the cases were cerebrospinal meningitis.

“All the said patients went to the clinic late when they were about to die. Those who survived were diagnosed with cerebral malaria.”

Achu called on the residents to adhere strictly to the basic rules of hygiene which included sleeping in ventilated rooms, washing of hands and covering one’s mouth while sneezing.

Achu said there was a concerted effort by the FCTA management to fight the disease, adding that some of the health collaborating agencies have supplied them with vaccines for high risk areas.

The secretary said those areas included prisons, IDP camps and boarding schools to prevent the spread of the disease. She said management had mapped out plans for the control of the disease.

She said: “A committee has been set up and charged with giving out information when necessary.

“The emphasis has been on preventing the disease, having the vaccination is to have immunity which if you do you have acquired defence.

“In 2013, there was a campaign all over Nigeria on Type A of cerebrospinal meningitis which we have already dealt with, whereas now what we have is Type C.

“And you don’t vaccinate everybody but some numbers to curtail it, only from one-year-old child and above as it takes five years in human body.”

The acting secretary announced sources of information to include community leaders, focal and surveillance officers at community, local government and state levels.

Achu said: “People should also know that a disease is suspected disease, probable and then confirmed which we are yet to confirm. What we have at the FCT has been suspected cerebrospinal meningitis but yet to be confirmed.’’

The situation report from the Federal Ministry of Health on Friday showed that 90 local government areas in 16 states of the federation have so far been affected by CSM.

The states include: Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, FCT, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Osun, Cross River, Lagos and Plateau.

The ministry said 2,524 people had been affected across the states, 131 samples confirmed in the laboratory with majority as meningitides type C, and 328 deaths recorded so far.

The outbreak started in Zamfara in November, 2016.‎

The ministry has, however, advised Nigerians to remain calm as the disease is preventable and curable if presented early.

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