The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has confirmed that it is monitoring the response to the outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis across Nigeria, just as the national multi-sectoral Cerebrospinal Meningitis Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to provide oversight and support to affected states.
Since October 2022, there have been 235 confirmed cases and 118 deaths from 22 states and 79 local government areas (LGAs).
Meningitis is a serious infection that affects the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. While it can affect people of any age, it mainly affects babies, preschool children and young adults.
Symptoms of meningitis may appear suddenly and include a high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea or vomiting, confusion or trouble concentrating, seizures, sleepiness, or trouble waking. The bacteria that causes meningitis can be transmitted from person to person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers. Close and prolonged contact with an infected person facilitates the spread of the disease.
In one week between March 27 and April 2, 23 people died from meningitis in Jigawa and Yobe states. As of April 2, a total of 1,479 suspected cases, including 118 deaths, were reported from 22 states during the 2022/2023 Cerebrospinal Meningitis season. The 5-14 age group was the most affected, with males accounting for 57 per cent of all cases and females 43 per cent.
The average incubation period for meningitis is four days but can range between two and ten days. The NCDC has advised Nigerians to take preventive measures such as avoiding close contact with sick people and ensuring proper ventilation in their homes. Anyone with symptoms of meningitis should seek medical attention immediately.