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Objective: The Jirapa District in Ghana falls within the African meningitis belt where over 500 million people are at risk of epidemic meningitis. The district suffered an outbreak of Neisseria meningitides, W (NMW) in 2012 and a mixed outbreak of Streptococcus pneumonia and NMW in early 2016. We investigated the outbreak to identify the source, causative agents, and magnitude and assess health facility preparedness and propose control measures.
Design and Setting: We conducted a descriptive study in all sub-districts of Jirapa, between 28th February to10th April 2016. We reviewed records at health facilities, assessed health facility preparedness, searched for cases, traced contacts of case to administer chemoprophylaxis and collect CSF for laboratory analysis. Data were entered in Microsoft excel cleaned, and exported to stata-13 for analysis by person place and time.
Results: A total 233 meningitis cases were reported with mean age of 22.4years and standard deviation 21.6. Males were (57%), females (43%) and 60.8% were less than 19 years. Attack rate of meningitis was 214/100,000 with case fatality rate (CFR) of 12.4% (29/233). Causative agents were NMW (69.5%) and streptococcus pneumonia (27.1%), mainly serotype STN1 and H. influenza (3.4%). The index case had travel history to dollar power, close to Tain District which is the epicentre for the 2016 meningitis outbreak in Ghana.
Conclusion: The Jirapa district experienced a mixed outbreak of streptococcal and meningococcal meningitis in early 2016, facilitated by migration. Active surveillance and mass vaccination with multivalent vaccines is required to protect the population.
Funding: Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (GFELTP)
Keywords: Meningitis, outbreak, surveillance, Jirapa, CSF