Meningitis: 5 States Affected, Over 1000 Cases Reported, FG Mounts Surveillance

Following the outbreak of the Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in the
country, the Federal Government yesterday said, it is leading an
outbreak response team who will mount surveillance, detect and
strengthen the prevention of the disease to other parts of the
affected States through raising awareness.

The team, which includes representatives from the NPHCDA, World Health
Organisation, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control, Médecins Sans
Frontières and EHealth Africa will also work towards verification,
disease management as well as communication and coordination across
the affected States.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) made this known in a
statement adding that while 1966 cases have been reported so far, the
five states affected have already recorded a proportion of an epidemic
outbreak.

The States affected are, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Niger.
“Cases of CSM were first reported in Zamfara State late in 2016. As at
March 28 2017, the number of suspected cases reported for the
2016/2017 CSM season stands at 1,966 with the outbreak reaching
epidemic proportions in five States

“Public health agencies in Nigeria led by the Nigeria Centre for
Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Primary Health Care
Development Agency (NPHCDA) are supporting several States in North
West Nigeria to respond to a widespread outbreak of Cerebrospinal
meningitis (CSM),” the Centre said.

The NCDC also said that NPHCDA would lead a reactive vaccination in
Zamfara State, while a similar response will shortly take place in
Kebbi and Sokoto States.

“ NPHCDA is working closely with WHO to ensure that we get access to
vaccines needed to respond to the outbreak and prevent further cases.
In addition, UNICEF is currently supporting affected States to scale
up social mobilisation focusing on grassroots engagement.

“Vaccines that provide protection to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup
C (NmC) are not commercially available and need to be acquired through
a special process managed by WHO,” it added.

Speaking on the disease management, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said the disease is treatable if detected
on time.

“We understand meningitis peaks every year in the dry season in
certain States and we must work better with these States to prevent
the unnecessary loss of lives. We must work collectively to stop this
outbreak and prevent outbreaks of this scale in the future,” he said. ELANZANEWS.M

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