The Nigerian government has finally declared the meningitis epidemic over in the country.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole made the declaration on Wednesday, June 28 after the disease had caused about 1,166 deaths over 23 weeks in 25 states.
“We have formally declared the Meningitis outbreak over in the country,” he told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.
“We also informed FEC that we have not recorded new cases of Polio in the country in 2017. We have recorded seven new cases of Lassa fever across the country and the cholera outbreak in Kwara State has also fizzled out”, Mr. Adewole said on the other public health issues.
Zamfara State, which recorded the first case of the outbreak, recorded the highest casualty; followed by Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Yobe, which all reached the alert/epidemic threshold
The disease affected a total of 226 local governments across Nigeria.
The outbreak became epidemic because of late diagnosis in Zamfara as many health professionals missed the epidemiology of the disease when first presented, thereby making government intervention through provision of vaccines late.
The federal government also could not intervene early because of the non-availability of vaccine in the country for the strain C meningitis.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, had earlier on Monday on its official Twitter handle declared that the meningitis outbreak was over.
Before the declaration, health officials combated the disease since late last year under monitoring by the Ministry of Health, the NCDC, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, and International partner organisations.
Statistics from NCDC showed that a total 14,518 suspected cases were reported from 25 states since the outbreak was first recorded in Zamfara State in November 2016.
The NCDC, on its official Twitter handle on Monday, stated that from its data analysis in the last few weeks, it was confirming the 2016/17 meningitis outbreak in Nigeria over.