The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has said that 282 persons have died of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM, in five states of the federation since the outbreak of the disease in February this year.
Chief Executive Officer of the centre, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in an interaction with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
Ihekweazu noted that the country has so far recorded a total of 1,966 suspected cases of CSM, out of which 109 have been confirmed and being treated.
He also said that a response team has been deployed to various states where there are high incidences of the disease, in order to vaccinate the populace and control further spread of the disease.
According to him, Zamfara State has the highest number of confirmed cases 44, followed by Katsina with 32, Sokoto 19, Kebbi 10 and Niger 4 confirmed cases.
Ihekweazu, however, pointed out that there is a new strand of meningitis called “stereotype C” which has emerged in place of the previously known “stereotype A”, and for which vaccines are not commercially available.
He said: “There is a vaccine available but it is not commercially available for the stereotype involved in this specific outbreak and we have to make application to the World Health Organisation for the vaccines.
“Thankfully the vaccines have arrived and we have started vaccination campaign in Zamfara. We are in the process of starting in Sokoto and Kebbi states.
“We continue to advocate for scientists and for the global community to really try and push to develop a vaccine for meningitis `C’, on the other hand all we can do is prevention,” he added.
The CDC boss also said that prevention and early detection was key to combating Meningitis, which could be easily treated with antibiotics if detected early.
He pointed out that the hot weather that is currently being experienced in the country was not helping matters as the disease thrive when the is not enough ventilation.
“Meningitis is a tough disease especially during this period and it is associated with over-crowding.
“Understanding the living conditions in the country, people must keep their building ventilated,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to avoid sleeping in overcrowded condition and if a lot of people must sleep together in the same room, the windows and doors must be open to allow enough ventilation.
In the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board, Rilwanu Mohammed, on Thursday confirmed the death of one patient due to cerebrospinal meningitis, while four other suspected cases are yet to be confirmed.
“The four suspected cases we have were all in Durumi I and II in AMAC while one confirmed case of a child that just happened yesterday (Wednesday) in Dakwa of Bwari area council, Mohammmed said.
“The four that died in Durumi showed all signs of meningitis but there was an autopsy carried out in the one at Dakwa and was confirmed to be meningitis at the University of Abuja Teaching hospital, Gwagwalada.
“We have so far immunised all residents of Durumi that are within the ages of one year and 29 years and we are going to cordon off Dakwa area today (Thursday) for a similar vaccination,” he said.