Nigeria: Meningitis Death Toll Rises

  • Nigeria had recorded a total of 13,420 suspected cases, with 1,069 deaths, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control said in its latest update – this despite a decline in the outbreak of the disease.

Reactive Vaccination Campaign Slows Meningitis Outbreak in Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, yesterday announced a decline in the outbreak of meningitis in the most affected states, even as the death toll has reached a total of 1,069 from 13,420 suspected cases as at May 9, 2017.

In a summary update made available to Vanguard, the NCDC said the outbreak was now in 23 states, with a case fatality ratio of 8 percent. The update, signed by NCDC’s Technical Assistant, Communications, Dr. Lawal Bakare, explained that in the last two weeks, a drop had been recorded in the number of cases in the most affected states, during which Kebbi and Niger states reported zero deaths.

Bakare stated that reactive vaccination campaigns, led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, were successfully conducted first in Zamfara State, and subsequently Sokoto, adding that, both state governments have fully engaged in conducting the campaigns in order to ensure that the vaccines get to the people who are most at risk.

“It is heartening to see the very high vaccination coverage achieved in communities targeted by the most recent campaign in Sokoto State. The response to the campaign has been excellent with a very high turnout of people at vaccination centres in Zamfara and Sokoto states,” he added. He said efforts at securing more vaccines for the country are on with another batch expected to arrive Nigeria in the next few days.

More than 1,000 people have died in an outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria, the Centre for Disease Control said Thursday, but added that the spread of the disease is slowing.

The outbreak has mostly affected children in Africa’s most populous country.

As of May 9, a total of 13,420 suspected cases had been reported in 23 states with 1,069 deaths, giving a fatality ratio of eight per cent, the CDC said in a statement.

The northern states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kebbi, which were the worst affected, have all seen a drop in the number of cases.

Two others which were also badly hit — Kebbi and Niger — recorded no deaths, the CDC said.

A new strain of meningitis C was first reported in Zamfara last November and spread to 22 other states in northern Nigeria. A mass vaccination programme was started to limit its spread.

The CDC said a new batch of vaccines was expected to arrive in the next few days.

Meningitis is caused by different types of bacteria, six of which can cause epidemics. It is transmitted between people through coughs and sneezes, close contact and cramped living conditions.

The illness causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord, with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness.

Nigeria lies in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurrence.