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Biological Health Hazard – Fatal Meningitis Epidemic (Update 2017/31/05): Africa, Nigeria


Published Date: 2017-06-01 17:16:08
Subject: PRO/EDR> Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (09): fatal, serogroup C
Archive Number: 20170601.5077641

Date: Wed 31 May 2017
Source: Premium Times [edited]

Nigeria has so far recorded a total of 1114 deaths in the 22 weeks of the cerebrospinal meningitis outbreak which hit the country in November 2016. A statement by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control stated that the outbreak, which has been ravaging the country for 22 weeks, has affected 4 additional local government areas bringing the total affected local governments to 226 compared to what was obtainable last month [April 2017].

Zamfara State recorded the 1st case of the latest meningitis outbreak and has recorded the highest casualty; followed by Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Yobe, which have reached the alert/epidemic threshold. So far, a total of 14 005 suspected cases have been identified from 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Out of 901 samples sent for laboratory testing, 423 were confirmed positive for _Neisseria meningitidis_ while 309 tested samples showed the causative organism to be _Neisseria meningitidis_ serogroup C, with 8 per cent fatality rate from the disease. The health agency attributed the increase in the number of suspected cases to an increased knowledge of the case definition for the disease.

Many health professionals at inception of the outbreak had missed the epidemiology of the disease when it 1st presented itself thereby making government intervention in providing vaccines to combat the spread of the disease late. According to the NCDC, the knowledge of the disease, however, does not translate to better outcome for the cases, as seen with the number of deaths recorded so far. The health agency said the case management, like other disease conditions, follows a sequence of case detection, laboratory confirmation, treatment using the preferred drug of choice and supportive care.

“At the onset of the outbreak, a large number of identified cases did not have samples taken for laboratory testing and were managed empirically. This may have been a contributory factor to the high number of deaths recorded. However, the Rapid Response Teams deployed to the most affected states supported sample collection and therefore an increase in laboratory confirmed cases,” it said.

The agency said in order to prevent future outbreak of the disease since meningococcal meningitis is a seasonal event of public health concern, there is a need for intensive and periodical community sensitisation on the disease and the need for early presentation and use of the public health facilities for immediate and Control (NCDC) alongside the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other partner agencies have provided on-site support for case management in the worst affected states.

[byline: Ayodamola Owoseye]

communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[The outbreak of subtype C meningococcal meningitis is continuing in Nigeria and surrounding countries.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial disease caused by _Neisseria meningitidis_. Of the 13 subtypes or serogroups of the organism identified, 4 (A, B, C and W) are recognized to be the main causes of epidemics, while occasional outbreaks are also caused by X and Y. Meningococcal meningitis cases occur throughout the world. However, large, recurring epidemics affect an extensive region of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt” which comprises 26 countries from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. In this area, outbreaks occur during the dry “epidemic” season, usually covering the 1st half of the year. Before 2010, serogroup A was responsible for the large majority of epidemics in this area but serogroup C is now prominent, probably related to the use of the serogroup A vaccine.

A map showing the belt can be seen at: – Mod.LL

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Undiagnosed disease – Liberia (08): fatal, meningitis diagnosed 20170523.5057681
Meningitis, meningococcal – Niger: fatal 20170519.5048548
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (08): fatal, sg C 20170512.5032015
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (07): fatal, sg. C 20170510.5027149
Undiagnosed disease – Liberia (07): fatal, meningitis 20170509.5023267
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (06): (NI) fatal, sg. A, B and C 20170417.4976236
Meningitis – Nigeria: (LA) not meningococcal 20170410.4961260
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (05): (CR) fatal 20170407.4953954
Meningitis – Ghana: (AH) fatal, high school students, RFI 20170407.4953952
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (04): mass vaccination, comments 20170403.4944602
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (03): fatal, more states, vaccine short, RFI 20170402.4942532
Meningitis, meningococcal – Cameroon: (Yaounde) fatal, sg W 20170329.4933744
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria (02): fatal, emergence sg C, WHO 20170325.4925882
Meningitis, meningococcal – Nigeria: (SO, ZA) fatal, new sg.susp., RFI 20170318.4909903
Meningitis, meningococcal – USA: (OR) college, sg B, sg B vaccine, RFI 20170305.4881298
Meningitis, meningococcal – Malta: fatal, serogroup B, vaccine shortage 20170226.4865078
Meningitis, meningococcal – Togo: fatal, emergence of serogroup W 20170225.4863648
Undiagnosed illness – Benin: (AL) fatal, children, meningitis excl, RFI 20170201.4808261
Meningitis, meningococcal – UK: emergence of serogroup W, changed vaccine policy 20170111.4756272

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

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