In a follow-up on the meningococcal meningitis outbreak in several Nigerian states, the number of suspected cases has increased by another 1000 and the death tally has topped 600, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Nigeria map/CIA

Health officials put the officials numbers at a total of 5,695 suspected cases, in which 221 (4%) are laboratory confirmed and 611 deaths (10.9%) have been recorded.

Neisseria meningitidis serotype C. was the commonest cause of meningitis amongst those who tested positive; 151 out of the 221 confirmed cases (71%) were due to Neisseria meningitidis serotype C.

The outbreak currently affects 25 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across six states— Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, and Yobe.

Note that the affected LGAs in Yobe State have reported Neisseria meningitidis A. No Neisseria meningitidis C (as seen in the other states above) has been reported in Yobe.

Officials have taken several measures in the current outbreak that started in Zamfara State last December:

  • The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has deployed Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) to provide onsite outbreak investigation and control support to affected states.
  • Mass vaccination campaigns, led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency targeting the most at-risk populations have successfully been conducted in Zamfara and Katsina States
  • Distribution of medicines and other essential commodities to affected states is ongoing.
  • High-level engagement of political and traditional leaders was successfully conducted during the week; advocacy, communication and social mobilization activities to increase population awareness also ongoing in affected states