The Plateau State government has announced the discovery of five suspected cases of cerebrospinal meningitis in Langtang South and Mikang local council areas.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kunden Deyin Kamshak, told journalists in Jos yesterday that they “got calls from the local councils and deployed its team to the areas. So far, our findings confirmed suspected cases of cerebrospinal meningitis.”
The commissioner explained that a blood sample or cerebrospinal fluid of a suspected case must be diagnosed at a government approved medical laboratory.“It is the results from such a laboratory test that would confirm the case as being that of cerebrospinal meningitis,” he said.
Kamshak added that three of the suspected persons had commenced treatment, while the others were yet to be treated because their blood samples had just been taken to the laboratory for analysis.
The commissioner explained that the major symptoms of the disease are severe headaches, fever and neck stiffness.He advised people to avoid staying in overcrowded places and sleep only in well-ventilated rooms.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has directed the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Gusau, in Zamfara State not to wait for referrals before treating cases.
Adewole, who gave the directive when he visited the hospital, urged the management to set up a rapid response team to locate suspected cases.“This is not the time to wait for referrals before you treat, but rather you should go out and search for the cases,” he said.
The minister urged the hospital to assist in strengthening the Primary Health Care system in the state to curtail the current outbreak and future occurrences.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello and a team of international development partners, accompanied the minister.Also, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai have expressed fear over the devastation of the outbreak.
But the Nigerian representative of the Department for International Department (DFID), Dr. Salma Kolo, said the outbreak was an indication that the healthcare system in the north was weak.
Kolo disclosed this at the emergency meeting of the governors and the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Public Health Centre.In Ekiti State, the Head of Department of Community Medicine at the Afe Babalola University, Prof Adekunle Kunle-Olowu, has warned against linking the disease to superstition
He gave the warning yesterday in Ado Ekiti, while commissioning a rural medical centre in Are Ekiti.He condemned the statement credited to the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, that the outbreak of meningitis was caused by adultery and fornication.The founder of the university, Afe Babalola and the Provost, College of Health Science and Medicine, Prof. Olurotimi Sanya, witnessed the commissioning.