Good News As FG Declares Nigeria Free of Meningitis

Nigeria has been declared free of the deadly "Type C" Cero Spinal Meningitis (CSM) after the disease reportedly claimed over 1,166 lives in the country. Disclosing this to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu stated that the country witnessed a shape decline in the number of case recorded since the out broke back in 2016. According to him, with the new development, the country can now be declared free of the disease.  

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, while making the announcement in Abuja, said that the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) responding to the epidemic has been stepped down. He told newsman man that for about eight weeks now, the country only recorded a handful of new cases in the affected states and that no Local Government Area has reached the outbreak alert threshold in the last four weeks.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu who commended the effort of the NCDC, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other partner organisations in the role their played in reducing the spread of the disease, said that by EOC was stepped down on the 16th of June 2017, a total of 14,518 suspected cases of meningitis were reported from 25 states, of which 1,166 dead, giving a case fatality rate of 8%.

The Chief Executive Officer noted that the government is already planning a prevention measure for future outbreaks. He said this will better ensure preparedness for the next epidemic season. According to him, laboratory capacity has been improved with government building and equipping of the new National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja. He said with the National Reference Laboratory supported be the Federal Ministry of Health, the US CDC and the World Health Organisation the country is in a better position to handle any further outbreak.

The government in its quest to improve case confirmation capability has charge the NCDC to coordinate a network of laboratories across the country. Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu further explained that a national guideline is being worked up on towards responding to future outbreaks in the country. He said this will be made available to the relevant agency as well as the public when it is ready. According to him, together with ongoing continuous awareness campaigns, 

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu used the media to thank the governors of Zamfara, Sokoto, Yobe and Katsina States not just for the role they played during the outbreak, but also for successful reactive vaccination campaigns led by the NPHCDA conducted in the affected states. He also thanks the World Health Organisation, (WHO) Africa Centre for Disease Control, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and its implementing partners – African Field Epidemiology Network and the University of Maryland Baltimore – for their generous support in the implementation of outbreak response activities.

Meningitis occurs as a result the swelling of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. This is cause by a bacterial or viral infection. While this may be so, the disease can sometimes be cause by injuries, cancer, certain drugs, and other types of infections. The disease can be spread from one person to other person by close contact such as coughing, sneezing or kissing.

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