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Sunday, April 14, 2024

NiMet warns that worsening weather conditions could exacerbate meningitis outbreak in Nigeria

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), has warned that the prevailing weather conditions favour the prevalence of meningitis outbreak in Nigeria.

NiMet highlighted on its official X account that states like Sokoto, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno are highly favourable for the meningitis outbreak.

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It added that the conditions in states like Zamfara, Kano, Bauchi, Kebbi, Katsina, and Gombe have moderate situations with meningitis outbreaks, while other states are places where low or no meningitis vigilance is required.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria recorded a total of 303 confirmed cases and 190 deaths from Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) across 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between 2022 to 2023.

NCDC noted that the highest burden of CSM in Nigeria occurs in the “Meningitis Belt”, which includes all 19 states in the Northern region, the FCT, and some southern states such as Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, and Osun.

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Other warnings

As of 14 February, NiMet raised alarm over the weather conditions across the country, noting that “air temperatures hit 41°C over the North and 39°C over the South.

NiMet had warned that the high heat level can cause dehydration, heat-related illness, and respiratory issues, among other chronic conditions.

According to NiMet, the northern part of the country will expect to experience more heat than the southern region.

NIMET said as a result of the high temperature, people will experience dehydration which could cause fainting; Chickenpox disease, Measles, and heat rash.

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Others include weakness of the body, dry lips, and other heat-related ailments that could increase their vulnerability to other medical conditions.

Preventing Meningitis

To reduce the spread of meningitis, NCDC advised people to avoid overcrowding and ensure adequate ventilation and airflow in the home.

The disease control centre encouraged the use of disposable tissue to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

NCDC urged that people should ensure they wash their hands, especially after sneezing or coughing.

“Seek proper diagnosis and treatment at a medical facility if a sudden high fever or neck stiffness occurs, ” NCDC said.

About Meningitis

According to NCDC, Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, a thin layer of the connective tissue that covers the brain and the spinal cord.

This inflammation can be caused by infection with organisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Injuries and certain drugs can also cause such inflammation.

On transmission, NCDC said meningitis is transmitted from direct person-to-person contact, including droplets from the nose and throat of infected persons; and close and prolonged contact with an infected individual.

“CSM initially presents as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, photophobia (pain on looking at bright lights), neck stiffness, and altered conscious levels. It may be more difficult to observe these signs in younger children, but irritability, poor feeding, and inactivity are common,” NCDC noted.

NCDC advised that people ensure they receive the appropriate vaccination required to protect against meningitis.

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