What do I need to know before I travel?
Public Health Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Meningitis in Nigeria

26 Jan 2023

According to media reports, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has sent a Rapid Response Team to Jigawa, Yobe and Katsina States where there is an outbreak of meningitis.

Dr Priscilla Ibekwe of NCDC said there were 129 cases, including 35 deaths, from 5 December 2022 to EPI 15 January 2023.

Meningococcal meningitis is an acute disease, caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides that can cause serious systemic infection.  It is spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions. It is a major public health problem in countries of the African meningitis belt, including Nigeria.

Advice to travellers

The risk of becoming infected for most travellers is very low, particularly if you are travelling on a package holiday. The risk increases if you are to a region with an ongoing epidemic and you:

  • plan having close, prolonged contact with the local population
  • plan to visit overcrowded areas such as busy market places, or use public transport
  • plan to attend a mass gathering event
  • have a condition that affects your immune system

If you are travelling to an area affected by a meningitis outbreak, you should be aware of the risk of meningococcal disease, how it is transmitted, and try to:

See the fitfortravel Meningococcal Meningitis page for further information on the disease