The current outbreak of meningitis which started in Northern Ghana is October 2015 has killed a total of 28 people out of a total of 110 so far affected. This information was given by the Deputy health Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe, on Friday, 22/1/16
Previous outbreaks occurred in 1994 and 1996, affected about 17,000 persons and killed 1000.
The Government has stepped up health education advising any one with headache, fever, aches and neck stiffness to report to the nearest hospital.
Meningitis is a highly contagious disease which spreads from person to person. It is a disease of the cover of the brain and spinal cord. It is found all over the world but more common in crowded communities with poor ventilation. In Nigeria, it is more common in the northern part which lies within the “Meningitis Belt”. People in all ages can have the disease but those under 30 years are more at risk.
Meningitis is caused by several agents on individual basis. It could be due to bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites or even injuries or cancer.
The way meningitis spreads from person to person depends on the agent that caused the disease. If caused` by bacteria, it will spread through coughing, sneezing if close to the sick person during which discharges can be blown as droplets, or as nuclei from the ground when dried later, to other persons. It can also spread through kissing, sharing lip sticks/lip savers, tooth brushes etc.
If caused by a virus, it spreads by faecal (Stool) contamination of hands resulting from failure to wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing baby diapers. There are other means of spread but these two are the most important.
The present outbreak in Ghana is due to Pnuemococcal meningitides.