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13.11.2008 Health

CSM outbreak claims 10 lives at Yaw Bronya

CSM outbreak claims 10 lives at Yaw Bronya

Ten persons have been confirmed dead following an epidemic of Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM) at Yaw Bronya, a farming community near Ofoase in Asante Akim-South District.

Nine of the deceased, all of whom died in a spate of two weeks, have been buried, while three others are on admission at the Juaso District Hospital.

The body of the tenth person was, however, conveyed to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) for autopsy to determine the cause of death, the result of which confirmed the outbreak as CSM.

The disease, which broke out on October 25 this year, was said to have killed victims shortly after they were attacked. The person died on November 9, this month.

The sudden increase of the death toll was due to the late arrival of victims to health facilities. Meanwhile, the people in the area hold the belief that the outbreak was the result of the wrath of a fetish god, which had been offended.

Following the rising incidence of death, the District Chief Executive (DCE) together with the District Directorate of Health services had joined in the efforts to augment the services of the health personnel at the Ofoase Health Centre, the nearest health facility in the area. Emergencies cases were referred to Juaso.

A combined team of health experts from the Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) were also dispatched on Tuesday to complement the effort of the District Directorate to stem the outbreak.

The team led by Dr Joseph Akwasi Amankwah, Director of Public Health and Dr Lawson Ahadzi, Head of Surveillance Unit of the GHS was also tasked to investigate and identify the exact bacteria that caused the outbreak to ensure its effective control.

The team, therefore interacted with residents of Yaw Bronya and Effakrom, a nearby community to collect views on how the deceased were attacked and the symptoms identified.

They also went through records at the Ofoase Health Center.

Miss Christiana Aidoo, District Director of Health Services at a public sensitization later entreated the people to report any sign of the disease to the nearest health facility for treatment.

She further asked them to allow enough ventilation into their rooms and avoid overcrowding especially in enclosed areas.

Mr Abdul Karim Boakye-Yiadom, the DCE urged them not to hesitate to seek treatment in the event of an attack, assuring them that the assembly would bear the cost of treatment of victims whether one was insured or not.

He announced that a makeshift camp would be set up at Ofoase where a team of health workers would be on standby to attend to fresh cases.

The DCE admonished the people to discard the notion that the outbreak was a curse and commended the team of experts for their swift response to bail them out of their plight.

Dr Ahmed Habib, Medical Superintendent of the Juaso District Hospital said the bacteria was commonly found in the meningitis belt in the three Northern Regions, suggesting that it could have been imported into the area, which is a settler community.

He said the Health Directorate was scheduled to embark on a mass immunization exercise on Wednesday in the community having identified the cause of the outbreak.

Dr Habib noted that the situation was under control and urged the people to co-operate with health workers to ensure that the disease was completely eliminated from the area.

Meanwhile, the three on admission at the Juaso District Hospital are responding to treatment.