Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM) is most often caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides.
Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the meninges – the thin covering of the brain and spinal
cord. Other causes include viral, fungal, parasitic and non – infectious.
While previous epidemic outbreaks of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in Nigeria were caused by
Neisseria Meningitides type A, the type C is however responsible for the current outbreak in
Current Situation in Nigeria.
Nigeria is currently experiencing an outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) that has spread
across the country and mostly affecting States in the upper parts of the country which fall within
the African Meningitis Belt. Other Countries that are facing similar outbreaks at the moment
include our West-African neighbors like Niger, Chad, Cameroun, Togo, and Burkina Faso.
The larger African Meningitis Belt consists of 26 Countries that stretch from Senegal, Gambia and
Guinea Bissau in the west coast to eastern countries of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
About ninety (90) Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Sixteen (16) States of the Federation are so
far affected including Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Nassarawa, Jigawa, FCT, Gombe,
Taraba , Yobe, Kano, Osun, Cross Rivers, Lagos and Plateau States have been affected by the
new strain of CSM.
A total number of 2,524 people have been reportedly affected while death toll has risen to 328
deaths. So far, a total 131 samples have been confirmed in the Laboratory, out of which a
majority are Neisseria Meningitides type C. This current outbreak started in Zamfara State in
Dry weather, dusty winds, cold nights, and large populations living in overcrowded conditions
leave people vulnerable to respiratory infections and are among some of the reasons behind
the Meningitis Belt’s high burden of meningococcal disease.
Symptoms of the disease include stiff neck, high fever, rash, headache, vomiting, and confusion,
altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises.
Young children often exhibit only nonspecific symptoms, such as irritability, drowsiness, or poor
feeding. If a rash is present, it may indicate a particular cause of meningitis; for
instance, meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a
Even with rapid diagnosis, 5 -10% of patients typically die within 24 – 48 hours of symptom onset.
Although sometimes fatal, CSM is most often treatable with antibiotics administered upon
- Blood testing and imaging.
- Lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid analysis.
- Treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics and intravenous hydration.
- Mechanical ventilation in cases of altered consciousness.
- Intensive Care Unit Management.
- Vaccination with relevant sero – type of the meningococcal vaccine for children and
- Avoidance of overcrowding.
- Sleeping in well ventilated places.
- Avoidance of close and prolonged contact with a case/s.
- Proper disposal of respiratory and throat secretions.
- Strict observance of hand hygiene and sneezing into Elbow joint/sleeves.
- Reduce hand shaking, kissing, sharing utensils or medical interventions such as mouth
- Self-medication should be avoided.
Even with large – scale vaccination coverage, other control measures used during epidemics,
include enhanced epidemiological surveillance, prompt case management, and mass
vaccinations in areas involved in an outbreak.
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