Liberia’s ministry of health has attributed the recent deaths in southeastern Sinoe County to an outbreak of meningitis.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia Monday, Health Minister Bernice Dahn said based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) initial report on the cluster of deaths in Sinoe, which later spread to Montserrado and Grand Bassa counties, the Ministry believes that it is dealing with a probable outbreak of Meningitis.
According to Minister Dahn, the CDC tested specimens from four patients for 29 different diseases, noting that the tests for 28 of the diseases proved negative, while the Meningitis test proved positive.
“As a public health measure, we are taking it as that and we are working on it so that we do not have further spread.” Minister Dahn said.
She noted that the MOH will continue to conduct the previous investigation that is currently on the table so that it can clear all doubts, adding, “Today the MSF was instructed to do a Meningitis test on the specimens that we have.”
Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meningitis.
The most common symptoms are fever, headache and neck stiffness. Other symptoms include confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting and inability to tolerate light or loud noise.
Meanwhile, Minister Dahn has said as of May 7, a total of 31 cases, including 13 deaths have been reported from three counties.
She said a total of 27 cases and 10 deaths have been reported from Sinoe County, while Montserrado County recorded two cases and two deaths, and Grand Bassa County two cases and one death.
“Liberia has never experienced Meningitis before,” Dahn said, noting that Meningitis normally affects countries that are hot and have long dry season; such as Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Ethiopia and other sub-Sahara countries which usually experience Meningitis every two years or sometimes annually.
“Meningitis can be transmitted through saliva and close body contacts,” Dahn said, and urged the public not to panic because Meningitis can be treated and prevented.
She is urging the public to report to health authorities anyone showing signs and symptoms of Meningitis so that the person can be treated immediately.