Nigeria is currently going through a meningitis epidemic which has affected 16 states in the Northern region. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that the outbreak started in Zamfara state. No fewer than 328 persons have died and 2,524 suspected cases have been recorded since November 2016. There is also a late emergency response to this outbreak because the vaccine for the circulating serotype (serotype C) is scarce in Nigeria and according to the ministry of health, they await vaccine donations from the WHO, the British government and other partners and donor agencies.
Bacterial meningitis affects the brain and the spinal cord and it is actually transmitted through person to person contact from sneezing, coughing, or even living in crowded conditions. Symptoms include fever, neck stiffness and sensitivity to light. It is important to visit a health facility for tests and early treatment if symptoms are suspected. Other measures include frequent handwashing, good personal hygiene and proper ventilation of rooms.
We will follow this story as it unfolds. In the meantime, do visit the nearest health facility if you suspect you or a loved one have any of the above mentioned symtoms.