The cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) disease has claimed the lives of 27 people in the Upper West Region since January this year.
The number of deaths represents 5.5 per cent of the 491 suspected cases recorded this year alone.
The cases recorded show an increase over last year’s figure of 203 with 17 deaths, which constituted 8.4 per cent of the total number of cases recorded.
Consequently, the Upper West Regional Health Directorate has embarked on a mass immunisation exercise against CSM in three districts in the region.
The districts are Jirapa, Nandom and Nadowli, which have been declared the most endemic places for the CSM.
So far, Jirapa District topped the list with 86 cases, Nadowli followed with 48 cases while Nandom followed with 16 cases.
The acting Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Winfred Ofosu, told the Daily Graphic last Friday that the directorate had put in adequate surveillance systems to monitor the CSM cases.
He explained that the three districts had crossed the epidemic threshold, necessitating a mass immunisation exercise meant to control the upsurge in the disease.
Dr Ofosu explained that the week-long immunisation exercise would cover people between the ages of 24 months and 29 years.
He explained that the choice of the age group was because that group was mostly affected by the disease.
He said an estimated 140,000 people in the three districts would be vaccinated out of a total population of 220,000 people.
He said the intervention was being implemented by the Ghana Health Service with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He added that a team of health personnel would move from house-to-house to deliver the immunisation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Signs of CSM
Signs of CSM, an air-borne disease, which has its peak period between February and April, he indicated, were the sudden onset of fever, severe headache and stiffness of the neck.
Dr Ofosu was hopeful that CSM cases would be reduced to the barest minimum after the immunisation exercise and public education.
Source: Daily Graphic