NIGERIA – The Ministry of Health of Nigeria has confirmed that 38 people have died of suspected Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in Jigawa State, Nigeria.

According to Dr Salisu Muazu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health the state has recorded a total of 398 suspected cases between October 2022 to date.

Muazu said the disease was detected in 56 political wards across seven local government areas of the state that border the Niger Republic.

He said the outbreak was initially from the neighbouring Niger Republic and later spread to the border communities in the state, through trans-border activities.

The permanent secretary listed the affected areas including Babura, Maigatari, Suletankarkar, Birniwa, Gumel, Gwiwa and Yankwashi.

“This is despite the fact that last year, we conducted immunisation against this disease across the state,” he said.

“But after getting the report of the outbreak, we took the samples for testing in the laboratory, and we discovered it was a strange disease. It is not a normal CSM disease that we commonly know which is type A, this one, we discovered that it is bacteria, known as type B.

“And immediately after results were obtained, the state government, through the ministry swung into action, by offering free treatment, control and prevention measures in the affected areas.”

Muazu further said the ministry had established an isolation centre at Gumel General Hospital, to which affected persons were being referred to for treatment and observation.

He stressed that the situation had been brought under control, as cases are being sporadically recorded.

“As of now, we record only one to two cases per day. In fact, there are some days that passed without recording a single case, as the last was recorded on Saturday,” he said.

The permanent secretary commended the UNICEF, WHO and NCDC for their support to the ministry in tackling the outbreak.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised an alarm about raising cases of death caused by meningitis in Niger.

At least 18 people in south-eastern Niger have died of meningitis in the past three months and WHO is warning that the outbreak could spread to other countries.

Between 1 November and 27 January, 559 cases of the bacterial disease were reported in Niger’s Zinder region, including 111 that were confirmed in a laboratory to be meningitis, the WHO said. During the same period a year earlier, 231 cases were reported.

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