Meningitis killed 190 Nigerians in one year – NCDC

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says the country’s meningitis outbreak killed 190 persons across 30 states between 2022 and 2023.

NCDC, in a public health advisory issued on Thursday, said Nigeria also recorded 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed meningitis cases across 140 Local Government Areas during the period.

The Centre said the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the NCDC is working to prevent, detect, and respond to cases of CSM.

Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) occurs when there is an acute inflammation of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord. CSM is an epidemic-prone disease with cases reported all year round in Nigeria.

But the advisory said weather conditions like the dry season that comes with dust, winds, cold nights, and frequent upper respiratory tract infections increase the risk of infection, especially with crowding and poor ventilation.

“The highest burden of CSM in Nigeria occurs in the “Meningitis Belt” which includes all 19 states in the Northern region, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and some southern states such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun),” it said.

NCDC said the National CSM Technical Working Group (Technical Working Group, including representation from all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and development partners) with its secretariat within the organisation is responsible for monitoring disease trends to effect multi-sectoral preparedness and response.

It said despite significant progress in surveillance, diagnostic capacity, and vaccination over the last few years, CSM remains a priority disease and ever-present public health threat in Nigeria with annual outbreaks in high-burden states that present a challenge for people, health systems, economies, and communities.

The advisory said, “The NCDC, in collaboration with MDAs and partners through the CSM TWG, has implemented the following to ensure enhanced coordination, collaboration, and communication for CSM response in Nigeria.

“At the beginning of the season, all state governments and public health Ongoing surveillance in all states through routine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and Event-Based Surveillance (EBS).

“Provision of offsite and onsite support to States and follow-up for daily reporting and progress with response activities.

“Preposition and distribution of case management and laboratory consumables to aid outbreak response.

“Risk communication to create public awareness of CSM prevention measures as well as signs and symptoms.

“Sample collection for laboratory diagnosis of suspected cases across the CSM network of laboratories to aid case management.

“Deployment of a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to Jigawa state to investigate report of rising cases and provide medical and laboratory commodities to aid the State’s response. Deployment by the Bauchi State Ministry of Health RRT to investigate reports of CSM cases.”

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