By Mustapha Yauri
Abuja – The Federal Government says it has deployed epidemiologists and vaccines to arrest the outbreak of a new a strain of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in parts of the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the new strain, which is not common in Nigeria, was imported from Niger Republic.
Adewole said that the new strain requires a different type of vaccine and a team of epidemiologists have been deployed to address the challenge.
He described the outbreak of meningitis in Sokoto and Zamfara states as an unfortunate incidence, stressing that the ministry is working hard to contain the situation.
“It has become an annual ritual under this administration; we would want to put an end to annual outbreak of meningitis in some of the northern states.
“I have just spoken with the commissioner for health in Zamfara who is appreciative of what the Federal Ministry of Health has been doing through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
“We have sent field epidemiologists; they are actually called disease detectives, to support them at the state level,’’ Adewole said.
The minister said that government have provided vaccines and would continue to do more in terms of whatever was needed with respect to material and technical support to overcome the outbreak.
“What we know in public health is that there is always an outbreak, but what is uncertain is where and the type.
“We want to be ready at any time,’’ he said.
Adewole said he has scheduled a meeting with the commissioners of health from the Northern states to plan a resilient and strong strategy to put an end to meningitis outbreak in the country.
He said all the states in northwest region are prone to the disease and the states would be treated equally when confronted by outbreaks such as this.
While calling for more vigilance, the minister appealed to Nigerians to report all cases of unusual fevers to health facilities and avoid overcrowding.
“When people are coughing let them be referred to facilities, open windows and ensure that we do not get infected easily.
“Children are more susceptible and when they have unusual fever they should also be referred to the hospital,’’ Adcewole said.
According to him, many ailments like Lassa fever, meningitis and other diseases usually occur during the dry season and we expect many health challenges.
“Global warming had changed many things; as far as we are concern we would be ready for many things,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that an outbreak of CSM has claimed five lives in Gada and Wauru towns of Gada Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said that the victims died at the Gada General Hospital and Wauru Primary Health Centre.
He said: “Three of the deaths were recorded at the Gada General hospital, while two were recorded at the Wauru PHC.”
A similar report outbreak was also reported from Zamfara on Tuesday.