Cerebro Spinal Meningitis known as CSM is caused majorly by the bacteria Neisseria Meningitides. The Meningitis epidemic rocked the nation and led to about 1500 deaths from a suspected 14,518 cases from 25 states in the country. The Neisseria Meningitides serogroup C was the major cause of the epidemic between December 2016 and June 2017 when Nigeria was declared free of Meningtis.
Meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial form of meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitides, is a serious infection of the meninges that affects the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 per cent of cases if untreated. Meningitis could also lead to hearing loss or a learning disability in 10 percent to 20 percent of its survivors
The symptoms include headache, stiff neck, high fever, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light.
The disease is spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory or throat secretions through coughing, sneezing and kissing. The risk of infection is higher with prolonged contact with an infected person.
CSM can be prevented through vaccination. The vaccination is serogroup specific and provides different duration of protection. There are different types of vaccines used to control the disease including the Meningococcal A conjugate vaccine that was used in Africa in December 2010. According to the WHO, more than 280 million people have been vaccinated in the African belt countries which has led to a reduction in the number of Meningitis cases by 57 percent.
Conjugated vaccines give immunity for 5 years and more, and can be used on infants while the Polysaccharide vaccine lasts for three years and is not effective before two years of age.
Antibiotic Prophylaxis decreases the risk of transmission for close contacts with Ciprofloxacin the preferred antibiotic choice to the alternative Ceftriaxone.
CSM can be treated with antibiotics.
KEY PREVENTION TIPS
The Minister of Health declared the Federal Government does not have enough money to vaccinate all Nigerians. Regardless of the high cost of vaccination, there are easy steps to follow to avoid the disease and its spread as advised by the Ministry of Health:
- Avoidance of overcrowding.
- Sleeping in well ventilated places.
- Avoidance of close and prolonged contact with cases.
- Proper disposal of respiratory and throat secretions.
- Strict observance of hand hygiene.
Source: The Guardian Newspaper