Meningitis 80 dead, 500 undergoing treatment as disease ravages Zamfara

And in Zamfara, where the death toll was as high as 80, residents of Gusau, have appealed for government help to prevent the disease.

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Nigeria lies in the so-called "meningitis belt" of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurence play

Nigeria lies in the so-called "meningitis belt" of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurence

(AFP/File)
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No fewer than 269 Nigerians have been killed in the last few weeks by meningitis, across the country.

And in Zamfara, where the death toll was as high as 80,  residents of Gusau, have appealed for government help to prevent the disease.

The appeal was made by a cross section of residents interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Earlier this March, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Gummi said over 80 people had died as a result of the disease while another 500 were undergoing treatment at various health facilities across the 14 Local Government Areas of the state.

The people interviewed were of the view that the situation has worsened, although they could not cite figures.

According to  the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said, about 269 people have been killed in recent weeks by meningitis.

As of Monday, 1,828 suspected cases of meningitis were reported with 269 deaths in 15 of the country’s 36 states, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

Mallam Bello Aliyu,  a civil servant said that the rate at which meningitis has been killing both young and adult in Zamfara state was worrisome.

Aliyu said that his neighbor, a 35-year-old man recently died of meningitis and some of his family members had been infected as well.

Hajiya Salamatu Isa, a school teacher also complained about how her four year-old daughter died of meningitis, which she said was due to lack of vaccine.

She said that the disease became rampant in February and that she tried her best to immunize all the members of her family, but due to non-availability of the vaccine, she could not. The inadequacy of vaccines, she said killed several people, including her daughter.

Dr Oyaromade Abidemi, a consultant obstetrician, Head of Clinical Services, Ahmad Sani, Yerima Bakura specialist hospital, Gusau, said the disease was under control.

Dr Abidemi said that the state government and Medicin San Frontieres MSF nongovernmental organization donated some drugs to the hospital, for the treatment of patients suffering from meningitis.

He said that 80 percent of meningitis patients that were taken to the hospital at early stage had been treated and discharged, while those that were seriously affected before being taken to the hospital have 50 percent chances of survival.

The Doctor however said that the hospital had not gotten any vaccine to give the public to prevent meningitis.

Some medical personnel from Federal Medical Center Gusau, who pleaded anonymity told NAN that the disease had affected many children and adults to the extent that 80 percent of the patients in the ward were suffering from meningitis.

NAN also gathered that both the state government and nongovernmental organization had been distributing antibiotics  to hospitals in the state, for the treatment of the affected people, but vaccines are scarce.

At the two major hospitals in Gusau, Ahmad Sani Yerima Bakura specialist hospital and Federal Medical Center Gusau, there were hundreds of patients suffering from the disease, awaiting treatment.

Earlier this March, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Gummi said over 80 people had died as a result of the disease while another 500 were undergoing treatment at various health facilities across the 14 Local Government Areas of the state.

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