2017: A year like never before for infectious disease outbreaks in Nigeria

From AHMED OBAFEMI in Maiduguri, Nigeria MAIDUGURI, (CAJ News)

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The Guardian By: Chikwe Ihekweazu

Throughout 2017, Nigeria faced several tragic disease outbreaks including cerebrospinal meningitis, Lassa fever, Yellow fever, cholera and most recently monkeypox. Some outbreaks proved to be especially challenging such as meningitis which was reported to the national level two months into the outbreak. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) led a multi-partner team to control the outbreak that took the lives of over a thousand people. Next, a cholera outbreak centered in Borno State contaminated the water supply, severely impacting living conditions. However, for the first time in the country, an oral cholera vaccination was implemented. Unlike the meningitis outbreak, there were systems in place to allow for a more efficient response. As time progressed, a monkeypox outbreak hit Nigeria for the first time since the seventies causing the NCDC to strengthen disease surveillance and detection. A Yellow Fever outbreak also impacted Nigeria resulting in national Emergency Operation Centers being opened. Lastly, Lassa Fever outbreaks began year-round rather than the typical dry season outbreaks that were previously observed. However, the fatality rate decreased from previous years showing better case management. Overall, the outbreaks that impacted Nigeria allowed the country to identify their priorities to strengthen their public and private health systems. To read more about the outbreaks, click here.

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