Cerebrospinal meningitis has claimed 48 lives since the outbreak commenced in October last year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed.
The centre in its situation report released yesterday said that a total of 541 suspected cases were reported from 15 states between October1st, 2018 to 27th March, 2019. It said 48 deaths have been recorded among all suspected cases during the period.
The weekly epidemiological report also revealed that 119 samples were tested during the period and that 47 confirmed cases were recorded. It said that the strain of the disease called Neisseria meningitides serogroup C (NmC) accounted for 34.0% (16) of the positive cases.
According to the report , which is the 15th in the 2018/2019 season, the National Technical Working Group for Cerebrospinal Meningitis has been monitoring cases and ensuring preparedness and coordination of response across the states .
“States in the meningitis belt were formally placed on alert on the 8th of November 2018. As at Epi week 12, 2019, 15 new suspected cases were reported in two states. In the last four weeks (Epi Week 9 to Epi Week12, 2019), one local government area is in the epidemic threshold ,” the centre said in the report.
Meningitis causes the covering of the brain or meninges to swell. It begins with an infection by bacteria or virus. The disease is carried in the throat but can overwhelm the body’s defenses through the blood stream to the brain.
Experts say the country has been recording outbreaks during the dry season over the years because of the low humidity and dusty conditions and that the outbreaks usually ends with the onset of the rainy season.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said up to two in every 100 people carry the microorganism in their throat at any given time, but the rate increases in times of epidemics.
The common symptoms of meningitis are stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity, confusion, headaches, and vomiting.