- Uganda’s ministry of health has reported it has managed to put under control a deadly meningitis outbreak that has killed more than 40 people since the outbreak began in December, a health official said.
Director General of Health Services Dr Sam Zaramba said the country has managed to contain the spread of the outbreak, stating that since 28 January there were no new cases reported in the health centres.
He said there was increased awareness about the disease in the affected areas, which saw many people receive treatment and vaccination well on time.
The disease which was first reported in reported in Hoima and Arua districts, also spread to Masindi, Adjumani and Moyo. By February this year, 3,336 people had been affected, while 42 had died.
Director for clinical services Nathan Kenya Mugisha, said the schools in the affected districts have also been allowed to open for the new academic year because there are no new cases of meningitis.
Dr Mugisha said the ministry and the World Health Organisation had vaccinated people aged between two and 30 years in the affected districts. “This age group is more vulnerable to meningitis and our assessment teams continue doing their work. We have also advised people to avoid congestion especially in the affected districts,” Mr Mugisha said.
Late January, the Ugandan government banned all public gatherings in the affected areas to limit the spread of the disease, which hit the country in December last year.
The World Health Organization said one sub-county in Hoima had crossed the meningitis epidemic threshold. There was also concern about Karamoja region where dry weather had set in.
In Hoima, the number of people infected with meningitis has also steadily increased, and according to local reports 14 people had died and 44 others were infected with the deadly disease.
Uganda lies within the African meningitis belt, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, according to WHO. The region, home to about 350 million people, experiences meningitis cycles whenever the dry season sets in. Up to 30,000 people suffer from the disease each year in Uganda.
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