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Meningitis death toll hits 1,069 in 23 states

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Friday Olokor, Jos

The Federal Government, on Thursday, put the number of suspected cases of cerebrospinal meningitis reported in 23 states at 13,420 with 1,069 deaths, representing a case fatality ratio of eight per cent.

The government, however, noted that the response to the CSM outbreak being championed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, had continued to bear fruits following the continuous decline in the most affected states.

A statement by the Technical Assistant in the NCDC, Dr. Lawal Bakare, obtained by Nigeria News, assured Nigerians that while the Federal Government and its partners would continue to work to reduce the effect of the current outbreak in affected communities, it would also ensure that the outbreak was fully controlled.

Bakare said, “Planning has already started to prevent future outbreaks and ensure better preparedness. As of May 9, 2017, 13,420 suspected cases of meningitis have been reported from 23 states with 1,069 deaths, giving a case fatality ratio of eight per cent.

“In the previous two weeks, the most affected states (Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kebbi) have all recorded a drop in number of cases. Kebbi and Niger states reported zero deaths over this period.

“Reactive vaccination campaigns, led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, were successfully conducted first in Zamfara State and subsequently in Sokoto State.

“Efforts at securing more vaccines for the country are continuing with another batch of vaccines expected to arrive in Nigeria in the next few days, just as mobilising vaccines for other affected states continues to be a priority.”

The NCDC said in addition to the vaccination, the National Meningitis Emergency Operations Centre, with support from the World Health Organisation, had deployed teams in the most affected states to support coordination, case management and surveillance activities.

The statement added, “The teams sent to Sokoto and Zamfara states are helping to improve on sample collection and transportation,  laboratory testing of samples, the clinical care of meningitis patients as well as building the needed capacity to control the outbreak.

“In addition, the NMEOC has commenced a national meningitis prevention campaign, prioritising the states within the Africa Meningitis Belt in Nigeria.

“This campaign will be driving prevention messages through the mass media, new media and community structures to reach households and communities in the 19 northern states of Nigeria and the FCT.”

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