The death toll as a result of the meningitis epidemic in Sokoto State has now risen to 41, Health Commissioner Balarabe Kakale has said.
Mr. Kakale disclosed this to journalists in Sokoto on Sunday when he gave an update on the state of high alert declared by the state government since March 20.
He said that the deaths were mostly recorded out of the nearly 600 clinically confirmed cases of meningitis in the eight worst-hit local governments.
They are Rabah, Kebbe, Tureta, Gada, Dange/Shuni, Wamakko, Kware and Bodinga.
Mr. Kakale said: “the epidemic was caused by the type “C’’ strain of meningitis and not the type “A’’ strain which the people of the state had hitherto developed immunity for.
“This new strain of meningitis is deadlier than the dreaded Ebola disease as it kills within four to six hours of afflicting a patient.
“More than eighty per cent of the victims also had not been immunised, hence, the aggravation of the epidemic.’’
The commissioner further stated that the state government has embarked on a state-wide, mass vaccination for the people of the state, against meningitis.
He explained that over 700,000 persons, aged one to thirty years were being targeted across the 23 local governments of the state.
Kakale further stressed the need for the people of the state to ensure that their children were fully immunised against the child killer diseases like measles, whooping cough, yellow fever and diphtheria, among others.
“They should also desist from self-medication as adequate drugs and medicament were provided by the state government for the free treatment of the patients.
“No fewer than one hundred medical personnel comprising of medical doctors, nurses, ambulances and other logistics are still operating across the state.
“The people should also desist attaching traditional beliefs like witchcraft and report all suspected cases of meningitis, measles and other diseases to the nearest health facility.
“We will not rest on our oars until when the epidemic is fully mitigated, although the cases had drastically reduced.
“Some of the isolation camps hitherto set had since been closed in most of the local governments,” Mr. Kakale said.