Cerebrospinal meningitis outbreak in Nigeria


DLHA Staff writer

State map of Nigeria with location of currently reported outbreak of CSM

Stae map of Nigeria showing location of currently reported outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM). Click on image to enlarge


Abuja, January 12, 2024. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) issued a public advisory today on the increased risk of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) outbreak in Nigeria.


Following deployment of a rapid response team to Jigawa and Bauchi states to investigate reports of rising cases and to provide medical and laboratory support to aid response, the Centre also alerted state governments and public health authorities across the country about the need for preparedness and response.


CSM is an epidemic–prone disease with infections reported all year round across Nigeria , said Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa , the Director General (DG) of the NCDC in the advisory released in Abuja .


He further stated that CSM is caused by acute inflammation of the coverings of the brain and spinal cord and that weather conditions like the dry season with dust, winds and cold nights aided by overcrowding,  poor ventilation and frequent upper respiratory tract infections increase the risk of contracting the disease


“The highest burden of CSM in Nigeria occurs in the ‘Meningitis Belt’ (figure 1), which includes all 19 states in the northern region, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and some southern states such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo and Osun,” Adetifa said.

Africa meningitis belt

Map of Africa showing sub-Sahara meningitis belt. Image credit: Centres for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC). Click on imageto enlarge.


According to Dr. Adetifa, Nigeria recorded in 2022/2023, 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed cases, with 190 deaths across 140 council areas in 30 states, including the FCT.


Despite significant progress in surveillance, diagnostic capacity and vaccination over the last few years, CSM remains a priority disease and ever-present public health threat in Nigeria, with yearly outbreaks in high-burden states that present a challenge for people, health systems, economies and communities, Dr. Adetifa said.


Learn more about the epidemic-prone  bacterial form of meningitis that is common in the meningitis belt of Africa




Published: January 15, 2024

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