Cerebrospinal meningitis has killed at least 118 persons in 22 states across 79 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. According to the data from October 2022 to April 2, 2023, released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Saturday (NCDC).
Cerebrospinal meningitis is a severe form of meningitis that affects the meninges, the thin layer of connective tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord. The disease is caused by a range of bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. It is highly contagious and spreads through close contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces.
In Nigeria, CSM remains a priority disease and a public health threat. The country has experienced several epidemics of the disease, with devastating consequences for the affected communities. Data collected from October 2022 to April 2, 2023 and released by the NCDC has shown that the disease has claimed the lives of at least 118 people in 22 states across the country.
The impact of CSM on Nigeria’s healthcare system and society at large is significant. The disease causes severe headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and other symptoms that can lead to permanent brain damage, hearing loss, or death. The cost of treating CSM is also high, as patients require hospitalization, antibiotics, and supportive care.
The NCDC report reveals that the age group mostly affected by CSM is five to 14, with males accounting for 57% and females 43% of cases. The disease is prevalent in several states, with Jigawa reporting the highest number of cases (1,064), followed by Yobe (234), Zamfara (36), Bauchi (23), and Adamawa (21). The report also shows that 14 LGAs across four states, Jigawa (8), Yobe (4), Bauchi (1), and Zamfara (1), reported more than 10 cases each this CSM season 2022/2023.
The NCDC, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, and development partners, is coordinating response activities through its national multi-sectoral technical working group. The aim is to control the spread of the disease, provide treatment to affected individuals, and prevent further outbreaks.
One of the strategies employed by the NCDC is vaccination. The agency has launched a massive vaccination campaign to immunize people against CSM. The vaccination is targeted at people between the ages of 1 and 30, who are most at risk of contracting the disease. The agency has also provided antibiotics and other essential medicines to hospitals and health centers across the affected states.
The NCDC has also urged the public to adopt preventive measures, including maintaining good hygiene, getting vaccinated, and avoiding crowded places to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. The agency has emphasized the need for early detection and prompt treatment of CSM, as the disease can progress rapidly and cause severe complications.
In conclusion, Cerebrospinal meningitis is a severe disease that poses a significant public health threat in Nigeria. The latest outbreak has claimed the lives of at least 118 people and affected many more across 22 states in the country. The NCDC is leading efforts to control the spread of the disease, provide treatment to affected individuals, and prevent further outbreaks. It is essential for the public to adopt preventive measures, such as getting vaccinated and maintaining good hygiene, to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Early detection and prompt treatment of CSM are crucial in preventing severe complications and saving lives.