The debilitating meningitis scare has hit Accra, with four cases recorded in the national capital, bringing the spread of the disease to eight region of the country.
So far, it is only the Central and Upper East regions that no cases have been recorded.
The Greater Accra Region recorded four new suspected cases of meningitis on Saturday, a day after officials reported of just one case of a new strain known as meningococcal meningitis at the Ridge Hospital.
According to the acting Medical Director of the Ridge Hospital, Dr Emmanuel Srofenyo, although the hospital is awaiting laboratory test results, the individuals are currently responding to treatment.
About 50 deaths have so far been recorded following the outbreak of meningitis in eight regions.
Dr Srofenyo told Citi FM there is no cause for alarm of a further spread in the region.
He added, “Currently, we have received four suspected additional cases. Their samples have been sent to the lab and we are currently awaiting results. However, we have already commenced treatment and they seem to be responding well to treatment.
“And again as far as these additional patients are concerned, there is no cause for alarm even though there is cause for concern because initially we received only one and four additional cases have been transferred to the Ridge Hospital.”
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of University of Allied Sciences, Prof Fred Binka, says the disease is now an epidemic.
He made this known while sharing his thoughts on the outbreak on Citi FM’s news analysis programme dubbed The Big Issue on Saturday.
“Pneumococcal meningitis is an epidemic and should be treated as such. An epidemic is an increase in the number of cases that we saw last year compared to this year. If you stated that seven people have died from streptococcus meningitis this year, we did not record that same number last year…in epidemiology if there is an increase then we have an epidemic.”
Meningitis is a serious disease in which there is inflammation of the meninges, caused by viral or bacterial infection, and marked by intense headache and fever, sensitivity to light and muscular rigidity.
The new strain, pneumococcal meningitis, caused by bacteria streptococcus pneumonia, is different from the meningococcal meningitis cause by Group A meningococcus which was accounting for an estimated 80 to 85 percent of all meningitis belts in the country or the cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM).
Pneumococcal meningitis has so far claimed over 30 lives in the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions.
It has affected dozens and keeps spreading in towns, especially in the Brong Ahafo Region, where it was first detected at Tain District.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Victor Asare Bampoe says typically with this kind of meningitis, fatality is high but potential for massive spread is low.
He says pneumococcal meningitis is not the epidemic meningococcal disease or CSM which is caused by Neisseria meningitides that has potential for massive and widespread outbreaks.