120 people have died from an outbreak of meningitis in the north-eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosed.
The first cases from the disease were reported in July.
The WHO Said the outbreak has been difficult to contain because of the community’s beliefs that it is linked to witchcraft. Instead of seeking treatment, some people moved from one place to another hoping that the disease would not follow them. This led to high mortality rates.
Meningitis is transmitted among people through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from infected people.
Samples shipped to France for screening revealed that the bacterium responsible for this outbreak had the potential to cause large epidemics.
The DR Congo government and the WHO have now deployed a team to the north-eastern province of Tshopo to contain the situation.
More than 100 people from the north-eastern province of Tshopo; that is part of the “African meningitis belt” that runs across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia – covering 26 countries are receiving treatment at home and in health facilities.
Some of these regions are vulnerable to recurrent outbreaks especially during the dry season – from January to July.