44 Nigerians die of Cerebrospinal Meningitis

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed that no fewer than 44 people have died from the disease.

The NCDC declared that the 2018/2019 meningitis season began on October 1. The agency said in preparation for this year’s outbreak, all states in the meningitis belt were formally placed on alert on November 8, 2018.

The meningitis outbreak is usually synonymous with the dry season. This begins around November and peaks around March and April, when the temperature is hottest before subsiding in June/July every year.

Since the onset of this year’s season, NCDC in its situation report (October 1 to March 17) said a total of 395 suspected cases have been reported from 14 states. Out of these, 43 samples were positive for bacterial meningitis. Most of the cases tested positive for the meningitis strain C. There are several different types of meningococcal meningitis (A, C, W) that can cause epidemics.

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However, the C strain of the disease is quite new to the country and caused a major meningitis outbreak in Nigeria two years ago.

So far, 44 deaths have been reported in the latest outbreak taking case fatality ratio to 11.1 per cent.

In the reporting Week 12, 14 states – Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Ebonyi, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara – have recorded at least one confirmed case across 40 local government areas.

The Executive Director, Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Usman Ndanusa, said that CSM has claimed eight lives in Borgu Local Government Area of the state.

Mr Ndanusa, who is a Pharmacist, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Minna.

CSM remains a major public health challenge affecting countries in the African meningitis belt. In Nigeria, 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are often most affected.

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CSM is an acute inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord. It can lead to death if left untreated. The disease is contagious and can be transmitted through tiny droplets of respiratory secretions from an infected person during close contact such as coughing or sneezing.

The disease is more common among children and people less than 15 years and deaths are higher among untreated cases. As the season gets drier, more cases are expected to be reported.

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