Meningitis Claims 190 People In Two Years – NCDC

As disclosed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), the nation has witnessed a toll of 190 lives lost to meningitis between 2022 and 2023, spanning 30 States of the Federation.

In a public health advisory released on Thursday, the NCDC disclosed that Nigeria documented 2,765 suspected cases and confirmed 303 instances of meningitis across 140 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

This disease, characterized by acute inflammation of the brain and spinal cord coverings, is epidemic-prone, with cases reported throughout the year in Nigeria.

The advisory emphasized that environmental conditions, particularly during the dry season with dust, winds, cold nights, and frequent upper respiratory tract infections, heighten the risk of infection, especially in crowded and poorly ventilated areas.

Information Nigeria understands that the Federal Government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the NCDC, is actively engaged in preventive measures, detection, and response to Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) cases.

The “Meningitis Belt,” comprising 19 states in the Northern region, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and some southern states, including Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, and Osun, bears the highest burden of CSM in Nigeria.

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NCDC further highlighted the National CSM Technical Working Group’s (TWG) role, consisting of representatives from relevant Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and development partners.

This group monitors disease trends, ensuring multi-sectoral preparedness and response.

The NCDC, in collaboration with MDAs and partners through the CSM TWG, has implemented various measures, including ongoing surveillance, provision of support, prepositioning of resources, risk communication, and rapid response teams, to enhance coordination and address the ongoing threat of CSM outbreak in Nigeria.

“At the beginning of the season, all State Governments and public health authorities were alerted to the heightened risk of a CSM outbreak and the need for resource mobilisation for preparedness and response activities.

“CSM initially presents as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, photophobia (pain on looking at bright lights), neck stiffness, and altered conscious levels. It may be more difficult to observe these signs in younger children, but irritability, poor feeding, and inactivity are common,” NCDC noted.

Despite advancements in surveillance, diagnostics, and vaccination, CSM remains a priority disease, posing a persistent public health threat in Nigeria.