The Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria has issued a warning to citizens regarding the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM), emphasizing the heightened risk during the dry season.
According to recent statistics for the 2022/2023 period, the country recorded 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed cases, resulting in 190 deaths across 140 local government areas in 30 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Ifedayo Adetifa, highlighted the increased susceptibility to infection due to upper respiratory tract infections in crowded and poorly ventilated conditions during this weather. The majority of Cerebrospinal Meningitis cases are concentrated in the “Meningitis Belt,” covering 19 northern states, the FCT, and some southern states.
In response to the outbreak, Adetifa assured the public that the government is actively working to prevent, detect, and respond to cases of the disease. Despite advancements in surveillance, diagnostics, and vaccination, CSM remains a significant public health threat in Nigeria. Adetifa stressed the importance of vaccination, avoiding close contact with confirmed cases, and practicing respiratory hygiene. Additionally, he warned against smoking and household overcrowding.
The government has implemented collaborative measures and preventive actions, including regular communication with high-burden states to assess status, progress, and challenges. Adetifa urged state governments and public health authorities to mobilize resources for preparedness and response activities, emphasizing the need for enhanced coordination and communication across the country. As the dry season heightens the risk of CSM outbreaks, these measures aim to mitigate the impact on people, health systems, economies, and communities.