Since our last report on May 22, nearly two weeks ago, Nigerian health officials have reported an additional 468 meningococcal meningitis cases, including 44 deaths.

Nigeria map/CIA

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), from the beginning of the outbreak on Dec. 13, 2016 to Jun 2, 2017, a total of 14,473 suspected cases and 1,155 deaths (CFR= 8%) of meningitis have been reported from 25 States.

460 cases have been confirmed and eight out of 10 confirmed cases were identified as Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C .

Second phase of reactive vaccination was completed in Zamfara state on May 26 with 97 percent coverage and in Yobe state on May 24 with 105 percent coverage.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and can cause severe brain damage. Meningococcal meningitis is fatal in 50% of cases if untreated.

Though cases of meningitis occur throughout the world, large, recurring epidemics affect an extensive region of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt” which includes 26 countries from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east.