Cerebrospinal meningitis in Nigeria: an outbreak, a response and lessons learnt

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

On February 16, 2017, the Zamfara State Ministry of Health notified the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) of an increased number of suspected cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) cases reported from five Local Government Area (LGAs) in the state. Preliminary investigations confirmed an ongoing CSM outbreak, which started in Shinkafi LGA of Zamfara State in the period December 12 – 18, 2016.

Due to increasing case numbers, on March 8, 2016, the NCDC activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate rapid development and implementation of a national CSM emergency outbreak response plan. The EOC cut across enhanced case surveillance and management, improved laboratory diagnosis for confirmation, vaccination and risk communication activities. However, the response was not without its challenges.

This presentation will discuss the outbreak response activities coordinated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control during the 2016/2017 outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis in the country, lessons learnt from the response and preparedness activities for CSM in Nigeria.