KAMPALA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's Ministry of Health on Wednesday announced that meningitis has broken out in the northwestern part of the country that is hosting tens of thousands of South Sudan refugees.
The ministry in a statement issued here said the fatal disease has broken out in the districts of Arua, Adjumani, Koboko and Maracha.
"A total of 31 suspected cases with no death have been reported since the first case was registered on Jan. 23. Adjumani has recorded the highest number of cases at 14, followed by Arua which has so far registered 13," the statement said.
Neighboring districts of Koboko and Maracha have each reported two cases.
In Adjumani, cases have been reported in three sub counties that are hosting refugees who are fleeing from the current conflict in neighboring South Sudan.
The ministry said it had dispatched a team of medical experts to the affected districts to beef up the local team. A national task force has been re-activated while the World Health Organization has been requested to supply logistics on time.
"With the above measures, the ministry of health is confident that the outbreak will be contained and there should be no panic among the public," the statement said.
Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It can cause severe brain damage and may kill easily if untreated.
The disease is transmitted from one person to another through droplets of respiratory or throat secretion from the affected person.
"The ministry of health therefore directs that all unnecessary gatherings should be discouraged in the affected districts," the statement said.