Suspected meningitis outbreak hits Liberia

Liberia is experiencing what could be its first outbreak of a contagious bacterial infection known as Meningitis.

Health Minister Bernice Dahn told a news conference in Monrovia on June 8, 2017, that the Center for Disease Control in the U.S. State of Atlanta has identified the strange disease responsible for the reported death of at least 13 persons in Sinoe, Montserrado and Grand Bassa counties as Meningitis.

Earlier reports had attributed the mysterious outbreak, which was first reported in the Southeastern County of Sinoe on 25th April to Ebola.

Dr. Dahn said results from repeated tests carryout on seven specimens from four of the deceased victims by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the bacteria.

“Based on these initial results from the CDC Atlanta, we believe that we are dealing with a probable outbreak of meningitis in Sinoe, which have spread to Montserrado and Grand Bassa counties,” Minister Dahn said.

Minister Dahn said further test will be conducted on the specimens sent to Atlanta by Médecins Sans Frontières in France to validate the results released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meningitis is an infection disease characterized by inflammation of the meninges (the tissues that surround the brain and spinal cord); symptoms include headache, stiff neck, fever and nausea.

The bacteria live in the throat and can easily spread through kissing, living with or having close contact with an infected person.

So far a total of 31 cases of the supposed mystery disease have been reported, including 13 deaths. 210 contacts are currently being monitor in six counties; Sinoe, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Maryland, Grand Gedeh and Grand Kru counties.

Health Minister Bernice Dahn said Meningitis is curable and has called on the general public not to panic.

She reiterated that results from tests carried out on specimens of those affected by the strange disease have shown no sign of Ebola.

Reports suggest that the victims had attended a funeral of a business man in Greenville, Sinoe County.

 

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