Meningitis killed 190 in 2023, says FG

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The Federal Government has alerted Nigerians to the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the fluid and three membranes (meninges) surrounding one’s brain and spinal cord.

The government said the warning became necessary as the disease is more prevalent during the dry season, which comes with dust, winds, and cold nights.

The disease claimed 190 lives across the country last year, according to the FG.

The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Ifedayo Adetufa, revealed that Nigeria recorded 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed meningitis cases with 190 deaths across 140 local government areas in 30 states, including the Federal Capital Territory in its 2022/2023 statistics.

The NCDC boss said the highest burden of CSM in Nigeria occurs in the “Meningitis Belt,” which includes all the 19 states in the North, the FCT, and some southern states, such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun.

Adetufa, in a public health advisor issued on Thursday, explained that despite significant progress in vaccination over the last few years, CSM remains a priority disease and an ever-present public health threat in Nigeria.

He said its annual outbreaks in high-burden states pose a challenge to the people, health systems, economies, and communities.

Adetufa, however, assured Nigerians that the government is working to prevent, detect, and respond to cases of the disease.

He said the NCDC, in collaboration with ministries, departments, agencies, and partners through the CSM TWG, had implemented several measures to ensure enhanced coordination, collaboration, and communication for response across the country.

Among other preventive measures, he said, “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.

“Routine meetings of the national multi-sectoral CSM TWG (were held) to coordinate prevention and preparedness activities.

“Regular communication (were held) with high-burden states to ascertain status, progress, and challenges.”

Adetufa said it is important to ensure that everyone received the appropriate vaccination required to protect against meningitis while avoiding close and prolonged contact with a confirmed case of CSM, including relatives.

The BCDC boss also warned that smoking and overcrowding in households should be avoided, in addition to practicing proper respiratory hygiene when coughing or sneezing.

SOURCE:PUNCH

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