Nigeria: Reports Raise Fear of Imminent Epidemic Outbreaks in Nigeria, Others

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Reasons have come to the fore why the next outbreak of epidemic in Nigeria and some other African and Asian nations might not be far off.

Recent reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the journal Nature Communications have indicated low levels of vaccination against preventable childhood killer diseases in the country and Africa; growth of anti-vaccine movement, especially in the United States (U.S.) and Europe, which had fuelled incidents and deaths from measles.

Also, rising global temperatures have caused increase in mosquito and other vector-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, zika and dengue fever.

November to May are peak period for ailment transmission in Nigeria and other countries endemic to Lassa fever, cerebro spinal meningitis and yellow fever.

Latest update on Lassa fever from the NCDC revealed that 11 new confirmed cases were reported in five states - five for Ondo; two in Edo; another two for Bauchi; one each in Ebonyi and Taraba and a new death also recorded in the North Eastern state.

The disease centre said from January 1 to April 7, 2019, 2,133 suspected cases were reported from 21 states of which 537 were positive, 15 probable and 1,581 negative (not a case).

The NCDC noted that since the beginning of this year, 122 deaths had been recorded in confirmed cases and Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) was 22.7 per cent.

The centre named the 21 states and Abuja that had registered at a least a confirmed incident across 81 local councils to include Edo; Ondo; Bauchi; Nasarawa; Ebonyi; Plateau; Taraba; Adamawa; Gombe; Kaduna and Kwara.

Others are Benue; Rivers; Kogi; Enugu; Imo; Delta; Oyo; Kebbi and Cross River.

Moreover, the NCDC statistics showed that from October 1, 2018 to March 27, 2019, a total of 541 suspected cases of meningitis and 48 deaths were reported in 15 states.

The centre observed that 47 samples were positive for bacterial meningitis. Neisseria meningitides serogroup C (NmC) accounted for 34 per cent (16) of the positive cases.

A study published on April 11, 2019 in the journal Nature Communications found diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination levels in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Mozambique and Cambodia, southeast Asia, fall short of the 80 per cent threshold recommended by WHO.

The implication being that the potential for disease circulation and outbreak in these countries remains high.

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