Confirmed Cases of Meningitis Rise to 2,524, Spreads to 16 States, Kills 328 - EazyFeeds

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Tuesday 4 April 2017

Confirmed Cases of Meningitis Rise to 2,524, Spreads to 16 States, Kills 328

From five, the rampaging Cerebrospinal Men­ingitis (CSM) disease outbreak has spread to 16 states of the federation.
The casualty figure has also risen from 109 to 328 while the confirmed cases have jumped from 1,966 recorded last week to 2,524 cases.
The worrisome figures were disclosed on Monday at the Na­tional Assembly in Abuja by the Director-General of the Nige­ria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekwoa­zu.

He told the Senate Commit­tee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases, led by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, that apart from claiming the lives of about 328 persons, the disease had spread to 16 states of the federation – with 2,524 cases.
He said that the death toll from the disease which is cur­rently prevalent in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Niger states, had risen to 328, from 2,524 cases, adding that 16 other states had recorded at least one case each of the dis­ease.

Ihekwoazu said the vaccina­tion for the Type C strain of the disease would commence tomor­row following the procurement of the vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
But Senator Ohuabunwa said that the disease’s wide spread may have been averted if the relevant agencies had commenced aware­ness and preventive campaigns when the first case occurred in December 2016.
On the efforts being made to contain the epidemic, Ihekwoazu said that the Type C strain of CSM was new to West Africa, hence the seeming unpreparedness of the government to tackle it.
Ihekwoazu said the vaccine was only procured two weeks ago as one of the criteria for applica­tion was that the country must be experiencing an outbreak.
He explained that the centre, in collaboration with some state governments, the Federal Min­istry of Health, and the Nation­al Primary Healthcare Commis­sion had adopted a three-pronged line of action of prevention, ear­ly detection and immediate vac­cination.
The NCDC boss said: “This disease is associated with over­crowding, particularly in this hot weather. We cannot tell peo­ple not to overcrowd their homes but we are to encourage them to ensure that their homes are well-ventilated and to observe good personal hygiene.”
Ihekweazu added that while available treatments work when the disease is detected early, most victims arrive in the hospital late for various reasons.
The centre has however en­listed community and traditional rulers to help persuade their peo­ple to go to the hospital immedi­ately they feel sick.
He stressed the need for the procurement of adequate vac­cines to immunise Nigerians ahead of 2018 heat season.
While the centre has sent sup­port teams to Zamfara and other affected states for rapid response, alongside the establishment of treatment centres, not much has taken place in the 16 states that are not fully affected, he admitted.
The 16 states would howev­er be part of the centre’s response approach, Ihekweazu said.
He said that the centre is hampered by inadequate fund­ing and limited manpower.
Ohuabunwa (Abia North) lamented that awareness on the disease has remained low in the country.
“If this had been detect­ed early, then we would have had rounds of vaccinations and would not be having this epidem­ic,” he said.
Senator Boroffice Ajayi (Ondo North) also blamed the epidemic on lack of sensitisation campaigns.
Meanwhile, Senate Presi­dent Bukola Saraki has assured the NCDC that the Upper House would support the Ministry of Health to contain and end the outbreak.
Saraki, in a series of tweets on his twitter handle, @Bukola­Saraki, said that he had spoken with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to assure him of the Senate’s commitment to help him end the epidemic.

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