Nigeria lost 190 lives to meningitis in one year – NCDC

THE Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) said that Nigeria recorded 190 meningitis-related deaths across 140 local government areas (LGAs) between October 2022 and September 2023.

Similarly, the nation reported 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed meningitis cases across 30 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, during the period.

The Centre disclosed these on Friday, January 12, in a statement signed by its director-general, Ifedayo Adetifa.

The Centre described cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) as an inflammation of the meninges, a thin layer of the connective tissue that covers the brain and the spinal cord, noting that inflammation could be caused by infection from any of organisms, namely bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi.

It added that injuries and certain drugs could also cause such inflammation. 

According to the Centre, CSM is an epidemic-prone disease with cases reported all year round in Nigeria. It could be transmitted through direct person-to-person contact, including droplets from the nose and throat of infected persons.

Also, close and prolonged contact with an infected individual could lead to infection. 

CSM typically manifests with symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, photophobia (discomfort when exposed to bright lights), neck stiffness, and altered levels of consciousness. 

Detecting these signs, the Centre said, might pose a greater challenge in younger children, but irritability, poor feeding, and inactivity are commonly observed.

The NCDC also warned Nigerians about the prevailing weather conditions, such as the dry season accompanied by dust, winds, cold nights, and an elevated risk of upper respiratory tract infections, which is particularly heightened by crowding and poor ventilation.



    “The highest burden of CSM in Nigeria occurs in the “meningitis belt” which includes all 19 states in the Northern region, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and some southern states such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun).

    “In 2022/2023 (October-September), Nigeria recorded 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed cases, with 190 deaths across 140 local government areas (LGAs) in 30 States, including the Federal Capital Territory.”

    It also stated that despite significant progress in surveillance, diagnostic capacity, and vaccination over the past years, CSM remained a priority disease and public health threat in Nigeria, with annual outbreaks in high-burden states.

    The organisation, however, said working in collaboration with ministries, departments, agencies and partners, it had implemented several measures to ensure enhanced coordination, collaboration, and communication for response across the country.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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