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Meningitis in Nigeria (Update)

19 May 2017

As of 9 May 2017 the Nigerian Ministry of Health reported a total of 13 420 suspected cases (1069 deaths) of cerebrospinal meningitis: 448 cases are laboratory-confirmed.

In the last four weeks, 48 Local Government Areas (LGAs) have reached alert/epidemic threshold in six States — Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Yobe.

Advice for Travellers

Spread through airborne droplets and direct contact with nasal/pharyngeal secretions of infected individuals or carriers. Meningococcal disease is found worldwide but epidemics may occur in this country, which lies within the extended meningitis belt of Africa, particularly during the dry season. Respiratory infections are often difficult to prevent but following basic personal hygiene etiquette when coughing and sneezing can help. Avoiding overcrowded areas such as busy markets and local transport may also reduce risk of exposure but may not always be practical.

Vaccines to protect against multiple strains of meningococcal meningitis for travellers are available: Menveo and Nimenrix. Individuals should consider being vaccinated if they are travelling to a country where meningococcal meningitis is present and where their stay maybe prolonged or they are involved in activities which may increase the risk of exposure to the disease, for example, working in a healthcare setting and living closely with the local population.