Nigeria deploys experts to contain new strain of meningitis

The Nigerian government says it has deployed epidemiologists and vaccines to arrest the outbreak of a new a strain of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in some parts of the country.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the new strain, which is not common in Nigeria, was imported from Niger Republic.

Adewole said that the new strain requires a different type of vaccine and a team of epidemiologists have been deployed to address the challenge.

He described the outbreak of meningitis in Sokoto and Zamfara states as an unfortunate incidence, stressing that the ministry was working hard to contain the situation.

“We have sent field epidemiologists; they are actually called disease detectives, to support them at the state level,’’ Adewole said.

The minister said that government has provided vaccines and would continue to provide material and technical support to overcome the outbreak.

Adewole said he has “scheduled a meeting with the commissioners of health from the Northern states to plan a resilient and strong strategy to put an end to meningitis outbreak in the country.”

He said all the states in northwest region are prone to the disease and the states would be treated equally when confronted by outbreaks such as this.

While calling for more vigilance, the minister appealed to Nigerians to report all cases of unusual fevers to health facilities and avoid overcrowding.

When people are coughing let them be referred to facilities, open windows and ensure that we do not get infected easily. Children are more susceptible and when they have unusual fever they should also be referred to the hospital,’’ Adewole said.

According to him, many ailments like Lassa fever, meningitis and other diseases usually occur during the dry season and we expect many health challenges adding that global warming had changed many things.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said CSM claimed five lives in Gada and Wauru towns of Gada Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

He said: “three of the deaths were recorded at the Gada General hospital, while two were recorded at the Wauru PHC.”

A similar report outbreak was also reported from Zamfara on Tuesday.

Rafat S.