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Cerebrospinal meningitis kills 16 in Niger, spreads all over Zamfara

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By Wole Mosadomi

.. as Commissioner dispels rumours of witchcraft

MINNA—Niger State Government has confirmed the death of 16 people from cerebrospinal meningitis, CSM, in the state, just as Zamfara State Government has confirmed the spread of the disease to all the 14 local government areas of the state.

The Niger State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mustapha Jibril, who disclosed this to journalists in Minna yesterday, said 31 cases were reported across some local government areas of the state.

Some of the local government areas affected are Kontagora, Rijau, Agwara and Magama.

The Commissioner, Dr. Jibril, disclosed that 16 deaths were recorded only in two villages—Tungan Jika and Mazakari—in Magama Local Government Area of the state and attributed the deaths to the refusal of the deceased to go for treatment contrary to insinuations that they died of witchcraft.

Witchcraft fingered

According to him, “contrary to the belief of the villagers that the sickness was caused by witchcraft, the sickness was actually caused by a Type C bacteria, which eventually led to their death.

“We have had 23 CSM cases from Magama Local Government Area, four from Rijau, three from Kontagora and one from Agwara. The 16 deaths were recorded in Magama. The death involved seven male and nine females.”

Dr. Jibril said that the first case of death of CSM in Niger State was discovered on March 6 by the District Surveillance and Notification Officer in Magama and lamented that the major problem the Ministry had was how to persuade the people to go for medication as they believe so much in orthodox treatment.

The Commissioner said that case tracing is ongoing and antibiotics are being given to people in the four local government areas, urging anyone who is sick to go to the nearest hospital for treatment.

He pointed out that the epidemic always occur between December and June yearly, when the heat is at its peak.

In Zamfara

Meanwhile, Zamfara State Government has confirmed the spread of meningitis to all the 14 local government areas of the state.

Alhaji Suleiman Gummi, the state Commissioner for Health, told newsmen, yesterday, in Gusau, that the disease first emerged in Birnin-Magaji Local Government Area 10 days ago.

He said that areas worst hit were Maradun and Bindin villages in Maru Local Government.

The Commissioner said that laboratory analysis, after screening 45 blood samples, had confirmed the outbreak to be that of Type C meningitis.

He assured that the government was on top of the situation as health personnel had been deployed to rural areas to help contain the spread.

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