The Chief Executive Officer of the centre, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement on Thursday said 1,966 suspected cases had been recorded in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Niger states.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said a CSM Outbreak Control Team with health officials from the National Primary Health Care Development Board, the World Health Organisation, and the United States Centre for Disease Control had been drafted to the affected states.
According to him, Zamfara has the highest number of confirmed cases of 44, followed by Katsina with 32, Sokoto 19, Kebbi 10 and Niger with four confirmed cases.
He also said that there was an inter-agency response supporting the states to contain the outbreak through the primary mode of vaccination.
However, Ihekweazu explained that a new strand of meningitis called “stereotype C” had emerged in place of the previous known type “stereotype A”, which had disappeared.
He regretted that the vaccine for this new stereotype “C” meningitis was not commercially available and need to be acquired through a special process managed by the World Health Organisation.
“There is a vaccine available but it is not commercially available for the stereotype involved in this specific outbreak and we have to make application to the World Health Organisation for the vaccines.
“We are working closely with the WHO to ensure that we get access to vaccines needed to respond to the outbreak and prevent further cases. We understand meningitis peaks every year in the dry season in certain states and we must work better with these states to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives.
We must work collectively to stop this outbreak and prevent
“We continue to advocate for scientists and for the global community to really try and push to develop a vaccine for meningitis `C’, on the other hand all we can do is prevention,” he said.
Ihekweazu added, “Thankfully, the vaccines have arrived and we have started vaccination campaign in Zamfara. We are in the process of starting in Sokoto and Kebbi states.”
Ihekweazu said that prevention and early detection were key to combating the disease, because if detected early, it could be treated with antibiotics.
He said that the centre was working with the states by supporting and ensuring they have the supplies to combat the disease.
“Meningitis is a tough disease especially during this period and it is associated with over-crowding, understanding the living conditions in the country, people must keep their building ventilated,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to avoid sleeping in overcrowded rooms and if a lot of people must sleep together in the same room, the windows and doors must be open to allow enough ventilation.
The chief executive officer assured Nigerians that the centre would work with state governments in the North-West and North-Central geopolitical zones, where most cases were recorded, to ensure better preparation and avert similar outbreak next year.