The total number of deaths recorded as a result of the outbreak of Cerebrospinal meningitis epidemic in Sokoto state is now 21.
This disclosure was made early in the week, by the State Commissioner for Health, Balarabe Kakale.
Kakale, listed the Local Governments affected by the epidemic to include, Kebbe, Bodinga, Rabah, Wamakko, Gada, Dange/Shuni and Tureta.
He stated that the belief in witchcraft was making the fight against meningitis difficult, while lamenting that families were refusing to bring suspected cases to the hospital attributing the illness to witchcraft.
He said that the state government had, set up, organized 15 medical teams made up of over 150 medical personnel.
According to the Commissioner, the teams were strategically positioned across the 23 local government areas of the state and were fully equipped with ambulances and provided with free drugs and medicament.
He also disclosed that emergency response teams had also been deployed by the state government that went around conducting house-to-house search, definition and management, at home and hospitals. No fewer than 330 mixed cases of severe malaria and meningitis had been treated across the seven most affected local governments.
He further disclosed that out of the 330 cases, 40 were confirmed in the laboratories to be cases of meningitis, out of which 14 deaths were recorded and these deaths excluded the 7 earlier recorded in parts of Gada local government.
He noted that thousands of other cases were treated at primary health centres in the local governments. He also added that there were some cases from Koko in Kebbi state which worsened the epidemic.
The Commissioner reiterated that it was quite saddening that the people of the state attributed the disease to witchcraft as suspected cases with obvious symptoms of the disease like vomiting, high fever, headache and stiffness of the neck were not brought to the health facilities.
He advised people of the state to disregard rumours of witchcraft and take all suspected cases of the disease to hospitals on time, warning, that keeping suspected affected persons at home will only make the disease worse and cause transmission to other members of the family.
“Residents should reduce the number of persons that take care of confirmed meningitis patients, avoid sleeping in overcrowded rooms and also ensure personal and environmental hygiene”, Kakale concluded.