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Meningitis: 15 states affected, as NCDC confirms 58 deaths

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Godsgift Onyedinefu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed that fifteen states in Nigeria are currently affected with meningitis.

The Centre also stated that 760 suspected Meningitis cases have been reported with 58 deaths as at April 19, 2019.

The Director General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu in a statement to mark the 2019 World Meningitis Day informed that, the disease affects about 2.8 million people each year around the world.

He lamented that the disease remains a major public health challenge affecting countries in the African in the meningitis belt which Nigeria falls in.

Ihekweazu noted that the disease is highly contagious and can kill within 24 hours, while stressing that recognising the symptoms early and acting fast is crucial.

“Early presentation to a health facility and treatment increases chances of survival, so visiting the health facility immediately symptoms is extremely crucial. All health workers are advised to practice standard precautions at all times – wear gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill relative,” he warned.

He added: “Meningitis can affect anyone, however infants, young children, adolescents and older people are at greatest risk, with major risk factors being overcrowding and poor ventilation.

“Meningitis can be prevented by avoiding overcrowded places and ensuring adequate ventilation in the home, covering the nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, or blowing the nose and disposing used tissues promptly into a waste bin. Form the habit of washing hands frequently with soap under a running water, especially after coughing or sneezing.

The DG also informed that the 2019 World Meningitis Day theme is “Life After Meningitis”.

Ihekweazu, quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO),  said About 10 per cent–15 per cent of those surviving meningococcal meningitis will suffer from complications, including mental disorders, deafness, palsies and seizures; or disabilities resulting from damages to the nervous system, including hearing loss, learning and behavioural difficulties; and other complications such as loss of sight, limb, and organ damage.

He stressed that raising awareness of Meningitis and its after-effects is therefore very vital.

He also called on all stakeholders including policy makers, leaders, communities and individuals to join in raising awareness on Meningitis in Nigeria.

“We all have a collective responsibility to address this public health challenge. As the agency with the mandate to protect the health of Nigerians, NCDC works closely with the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), other relevant agencies and partners to sensitise Nigerians on the disease and coordinate response nationally in the event of an outbreak,” he said.

The current situation report

All the previous situation report are found here:

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