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Intense Harmattan: GHS on high alert for cerebrospinal meningitis disease outbreak in the country

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The Ghana Health Service says it is on high alert for any possible outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis disease in northern Ghana.

Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) is one of the infectious diseases and thrives in dry, dusty weather conditions. As a result, the current weather pattern, which has seen an increase in the intensity of the harmattan, has alarmed the Ghana Health Service.

The last time Ghana had an outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) was in 2020 in the Upper West region.


The Director in Charge of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, says the service is monitoring events to avert any possible outbreak.


‘‘We are part of the countries that lies in the meningitis belt. So, if you look at the data over the years, around November to match, we turn to have high cases of meningitis and this year, what we are seeing is not so different. What we are seeing is a very dry weather condition in the southern part so we as a Service we anticipate such, but you see just getting a case of meningitis is not an outbreak, because it is endemic in this part of these parts of the country. So we have a system in place. Our surveillance system that monitors cases on a weekly basis like that. And until it crosses a threshold. For us we are monitoring the situation,’’ he explained.

He also called on clinicians to look out for possible cases while encouraging the general public to report to health facilities when ill.


‘‘Fever does not mean malaria. It could be a beginning case of meningitis, so we raise an awareness that the average Ghanaian should be on the alert that the weather is not so safe so they shouldn’t self-medicate thinking that every fever is malaria. It’s also a wake-up call for clinicians that you need to look out for possible cases of meningitis. The other issue is the dust in the whole situation and the EPA warning and that predisposes one to lungs and respiratory conditions. If you even look at our top OPD cases it has always been malaria and upper respiratory infection,’’ he added.
Ghana has, in the last week, witnessed very dusty weather conditions across the country. This has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Meteorological Service to encourage the public to take precautionary measures to protect themselves.



The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has also expressed some concerns about the surge in respiratory cases presented at facilities, urging the public to wear face masks to reduce exposure to dust.


Source: 3news
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