The people of Delta State have been seized by panic following the report of three new cases of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Asaba, the state capital. Permanent Secretary of the Delta State Ministry of Health, Dr. M. I. Oseji, told SaharaReporters on Wednesday of the fresh cases in Asaba.

"There is one suspected case of meningitis in Asaba,” Dr. Oseji said. “There’s another probable case of Meningococcal Meningitis in Asaba with positive microscopy, but no culture and sensitivity done on cerebrospinal fluid. There’s also one confirmed case of Pneumococcal Meningitis in Warri with positive microscopy, culture, and sensitivity," she said, adding that there are no deaths recorded yet.

The first case of the deadly disease in Delta State was confirmed on Tuesday by Dr. Ngozi Chukwubeni, a consultant physician at the Warri Central Hospital, Warri South Local Government Area.

The government, however, said the cases identified do not constitute an outbreak. Briefing journalists in Asaba, Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, denied that the state is experiencing a meningitis outbreak, explaining that it is only when the occurrence is within the ratio of “five percent per week and per 100,000 persons” that it is considered an outbreak.

According to Dr. Azinge, the strain of the disease found in the victim at the Warri Central Hospital is not the same as the one ravaging Zamfara State.

He also explained that the case of one of the patients at the FMC in Asaba was inconclusive because of other complications that developed in his brain during an examination. The commissioner added that the state's Rapid Response Team has already started monitoring the pattern of occurrence, with a view to curtailing the spread of the disease. In addition, he disclosed, samples have been collected from the patients’ spinal cords for medical examination.

Dr. Azinge listed common symptoms of the disease, including high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, red patches on the skin and coughing. He disclosed that health workers in the state are currently undergoing intensive sensitization on the disease and that all detected cases should be immediately referred to Central Medical Hospitals across the state.

A Nigerian doctor vaccinates a child against meningitis

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