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Meningitis outbreak in West Nile

Health

Meningitis outbreak in West Nile

Meningitis has been reported in border districts with South Sudan which are hosting refugees

The Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of the deadly Meningitis in West Nile region of Uganda.

The Ministry says that 31 people are suspected to contracted the disease, followed by Arua with 13 cases while neighbouring cases of Koboko and Maracha have each reported two cases.

The source of the disease is not confirmed yet but the Ministry of Health says that in Adjumani, the reported cases are in the three sub-counties that are hosting the refugees who are fleeing the current violence in South Sudan.

The Ministry of Health has expressed concern of the potential for the disease to spread rapidly since the affected sub-counties of Dzaipi, Adropi and Arinyapi share borders with South Sudan where weekly markets are likely to amplify the transmission.

The Ministry of Health says it has put in place measures including a national task force and dispatching a team of experts to the affected areas to beef up local health teams.

The Ministry adds that it has also dispatched drugs to the region and asked WHO for further support.

The ministry warns that Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It can cause severe brain damage and may kill easily in untreated.

The Ministry adds that the disease is transmitted from one person to another through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from the affected person. This means that close contact with the affected persons including kissing, sneezing or coughing or living in close quarters and sharing or drinks and eats with infected persons can spread the disease.

In a statement singed by the Commissioner for Community Health Dr. Anthony Mbonye, the Ministry has directed health officers to stop what it calls unnecessary gatherings in the affected districts.

The ministry cites symptoms of the disease as being; A stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting.

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