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258 meningitis cases and 40 deaths recorded as existing vaccines prove ineffective

Upper West Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service has revealed that the prevalent cases of meningitis are as a result of unavailable vaccines to tackle the disease.

Dr Osei Kuffour Afreh stated there are no globally approved injections hence the current vaccines that were used in the past are no match for this breed of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM).

“We are dealing with a subtype X for which there are no vaccines in the world that have been certified by the World Health Organisation,” he said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Wednesday.

“This particular year we vaccinated inhabitants of the region with meningitis vaccines especially for subtype A. Unfortunately, our investigation sand analysis have shown that we are dealing with a strange subtype which we haven’t had in the region before. We are dealing with two terrible diseases in the Upper West region,” he lamented.

However, he noted that the number of new cases and deaths are reducing by the day following interventions that have been put in place.

“We are comfortable to say that about 80% of the deaths occured less than after 24 hours at the hospital with about 6 of them dying on arrival at the facility.

“We were able to come to the conclusion that delay in seeking care is the main contributory factor in the deaths.

“We are in the communities trying to create awareness for early reporting and making them aware of the signs and symptoms,” Dr Afreh said.

The regional director cited the poor social distancing culture in the Upper West Region even in the wake of coronavirus has enhanced the spread of the disease.

According to him , the mode of spread of both Covid-19 and meningitis are the same. Hence, when the safety protocols are adhered to, the spread of these two will be curtailed.

He added that the reduced number of security persons has affected the affected the strict enforcement of social distancing protocols in the region.

The disease is an inflammation of the meninges (membranous coverings) of both the brain and spinal cord caused by meningococcus called also cerebrospinal fever.

What is meningitis?

The disease is an inflammation of the meninges (membranous coverings) of both the brain and spinal cord caused by meningococcus also called cerebrospinal fever.

It is an air-borne disease that is most feared because it is transmittable, fatal and spreads at an extremely fast pace with a death rate of up to 50% if not promptly treated.

Long-term effects of the disease include: deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, or cognitive deficits, especially if not treated quickly.


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