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Between October and April 2, 2022, Nigeria recorded a total of 235 infections and 118 deaths due to cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in 22 states of the federation.
CSM is an acute inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
In a new report released on Saturday Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), cases were recorded in 79 local government areas (LGAs) of the 22 affected states.
Meanwhile, the disease center also stated that 23 deaths and 212 suspected cases were recorded in the 13th week of this year from March 27 to April 2.
Compared to the 196 suspected cases reported in the previous 12 weeks, the NCDC said the new figure shows an 8 percent increase.
The NCDC report shows that Jigawa state in the North West accounted for 62 percent of the 212 suspected cases, while Yobe and Adamawa in the North East accounted for 17 and four cases respectively.
The center for disease control also stated that 23 died from the disease with Yobe recording 17 while Jigawa recorded nine.
The Center added that the multi-sectoral CSM National Technical Working Group will continue to monitor the states’ response.
22 affected states
Giving a further breakdown of CSM in Nigeria, the NCDC in the report revealed that since the start of the season, 22 states have reported suspected cases of CSM in 2022/2023.
NCDC noted that from week 40 of 2022 to week 13 of 2023, a total of 1,479 suspected cases, including 118 deaths representing a case fatality rate (CFR) of 9.3 percent, were reported from 22 states during CSM seasons.
“A total of 512 samples were collected, 235 of which were confirmed with a positivity rate of 46 percent since the start of the CSM 2022/2023 season,” NCDC said.
The Centers for Disease Control said the five to 14-year-old age group was most affected, with 57 percent males and 43 percent females.
The NCDC added that 93 percent of the cumulative cases were from four states: Jigawa (1,064 cases), Yobe (234 cases), Zamfara (36 cases), Bauchi (23 cases) and Adamawa (21 cases).
Jigawa leads the show
Focusing more on the North West state, the NCDC explained that Jigawa has been in an outbreak since the 40th week of 2022 with 11 of its 22 Local Government Areas (LGAs) affected.
Of the 1,064 suspected cases, 213 were confirmed, with a 65 CFR mortality rate of 6.1 percent recorded in the state as of week 13.
In response to the outbreak, NCDC said it had, in collaboration with partners, deployed RRTs and materials to support Jigawa State’s response to the outbreak.
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He added that between March 25 and 26, 2023, reactive vaccination was conducted in 17 wards in the four LGAs of Jigawa State led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The LGAs are Sule Tankarkar, Gumel, Maigatari and Gagarawa.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), meningitis is a serious infection of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
WHO describes it as “a devastating disease that remains a major public health challenge” that “can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, fungi or viruses, but the greatest global burden is seen with bacterial meningitis.”
In terms of transmission, the WHO said that the bacteria that cause meningitis are transmitted from person to person through droplets from the carriers’ respiratory or throat secretions.
“Close and prolonged contact, such as kissing someone, sneezing or coughing, or living close to an infected person, facilitates the spread of the disease,” he said.
The WHO added that the average incubation period is four days, but it can be between two and 10 days.
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