140+ Killed By Meningitis In Nigeria: There Is Hope For Eradication


Officials say cases of meningitis have been reported over the last few weeks in six states and has so far infected more than 1,000 people. The meningitis epidemic in Sokoto State has now increased to 21.

Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. This inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, but can be a result of injury, cancer, or certain drugs.

The State Health Commissioner, Balarabe Kakale, confirmed this in an interview saying that the ministry has provided an update on the state of high alert since March 20. The deaths were recorded in seven local governments of Kebbe, Bodinga, Rabah, Wamakko, Gada, Dange/Shuni and Tureta, which are mostly affected by the meningitis outbreak.

The commissioner said, “The state government had since deployed no fewer than fifteen medical teams, comprising of over one hundred and fifty medical personnel.They were deployed across the 23 local governments of the state, fully equipped with ambulances and provided with free drugs, as well as medication”

“The emergency response teams were conducting house to house search, definition and management, both at home and the hospitals. They had so far treated no fewer than 330 mixed cases of severe malaria and meningitis across the seven top-hit local governments” he further explained.

Also in Niger state, Sixteen people have lost their lives to cerebrospinal meningitis in Magama local government area of Niger state.
The breakdown has caused the death of nine female and seven males in the local government.

Consequently, the commissioner of health Dr. Mustapha Jibril at a press briefing on the development said the victims were between the ages of 1 and 20, and that the high casualty was as a result of the people’s tendency to blame the disease on witchcraft instead of seeking medical attention immediately they developed the symptoms.

The commissioner disclosed that 31 cases of meningitis were reported on March 6 across four local government areas;Magama, Kontagora, Rijau and Agwara, and that of the four, apart from being the only council with mortality, Magama has the highest cases of 23, followed by Rijau with 4; Kotagora 3 and Agwara 1.

He further explained that the outbreak was caused by intense solar radiation, poorly ventilated residences and unhygienic surroundings, but that the state government had activated response teams across the affected local government areas, while sensitization of residents on the current danger had since commenced.

In addition, Nigerian Minister of Health Isaac Adewole said,

“the seasonal outbreak has been attributed to cold nights, dusty winds and dry weather, which were aggravated by traditional beliefs, poor hygiene, and overpopulation.”

He further explained that the disease is a different strain of Meningitis which has been imported from Niger Republic. Adewole also said that the new strain requires a different type of vaccine and that a team of epidemiologists have been deployed to address the challenge.

The people residing in these affected areas live in fear at the moment. It could also be out of control if refugee camps, prisons and police cells become affected through crowds. However, the government has rendered urgent and immediate service to curb the situation.

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