Pneumococcal Meningitis now an epidemic – Prof. Binka

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Prof. Fred Binka, says the deadly pneumococcal meningitis disease that has claimed nearly 50 lives has reached an epidemic status.

He explained that the disease is now an epidemic because there has been a surge in the number of cases recorded since the outbreak this year [2016] compared to 2015.

“Pneumococcal Menigitis is an epidemic and should be treated as such. An epidemic is an increase in the number of cases that we saw last year compared to this year .If you stated that 7 people have died from Streptococcus Meningitis this year, we did not record that same number last year…in epidemiology if there is an increase then we have an epidemic.”

The disease has so far claimed over 30 lives in the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions.

It has affected dozens and keeps spreading in towns, especially in the Brong Ahafo Region where it was first detected.

On Friday, a different strain of Meningitis called Meningococcal Meningitis was also recorded in the Greater Accra region.

The case was reported at the Ridge Hospital in Accra. The cases in Accra have now increased to four according to health officials.

Prof. Binka on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue, on Saturday, advised the Ministry of Health to stock various health facilities with diagnostic facilities in order to detect and deal with the disease on time.

“There are basic measures that they should put in place. They should quickly improve on the diagnostic capabilities of the health facilities. They should send them algorithms that will allow them to diagnose the disease.”

How is Meningitis transmitted?

Prof. Binka explained that the disease is basically transmitted by what he referred to as droplet infection.

“Droplet means if you cough and you sleep, the saliva gets out of your mouth and the bacteria is in that saliva that is going round so with the dry weather; if you inhale that, that’s a problem. So you have to avoid where people are crowded because when people are crowded and they sneeze, they put in these many droplets and people inhale the droplets and that is the biggest way that the transmission takes place,” Prof. Binka explained.

“If you in an area where you have had a report of an epidemic, then you should be careful not to go to those functions. We can’t shut down the whole social system because of this but we have to be prudent in what is done. For example, if this had happened in a boarding school in Accra, you have to close down the school to protect others,” he added.

Source: Citifmonline.com

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