The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), has warned that there could be prevalence of climate-induced diseases such as malaria, cerebrospinal meningitis and respiratory diseases in many parts of Nigeria in 2019.
NiMet’s forecast, in its 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), projects that high temperature, rainfall and relative humidity as well as harmattan dust are factors that will trigger the diseases.
It predicted that incidences of malaria and other diseases would be higher in areas with high temperatures in the range of 18 to 32 degrees Celsius associated with high relative humidity above 60 per cent precipitation.
It said areas covered by thick vegetation that provide environmental conditions conducive for the survival of vector and development of malaria parasites were also prone to malaria spread.
According to NiMet, climatic and environmental conditions expected for January, February, March and April will make many states vulnerable to incidences of malaria.
“High vigilance is required over the coastal cities of Lagos, Abakiliki, Eket and Calabar; moderate vigilance over parts of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and southern states and low vigilance over the rest of the country.
“In February, high vigilance is advisable over parts of Lagos, Ogun and southern states; moderate vigilance required over Ogun, Owerri, southern states and parts of Lagos and Enugu states, while the rest will require low vigilance.
“In March, high vigilance is required over southern states; moderate vigilance over the inland states of Enugu, Ondo Ebonyi and parts of Kogi, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Delta states.
“In April, high vigilance is required over the south and parts of Kogi, Benue, Plateau and Kwara states and moderate vigilance over Abuja, parts of Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Nassarawa, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states,’’ it stated.
On cerebrospinal meningitis, NiMet disclosed that low relative humidity, no rainfall, high temperatures, dry north easterly winds and surface dust conditions would encourage the spread of the disease up to mid-March.
It said that the meningitis epidemiologic season would observe slight increase in cases due to intensifying effects of harmattan over the northern and central states.
On respiratory diseases, NiMet warned that harmattan dust in the months of December to mid-March would likely increase the incidences of asthma, bronchitis, flu silicosis and lung cancer.
It disclosed that warm conditions were expected over the country during the months of February to May, adding that heat related ailments such as measles and heat rashes were expected during the hot season.
According to NiMet, the information and projections provided will assist health policy makers to plan early warning and reduce the negative outcome with good lead time.
“Early warning would assist health authorities such as the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to develop effective vaccination strategies to prevent outbreaks,’’ NiMet said.