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Meningitis: Before the heat-wave brings another epidemics

Have you noticed that there is an excessive heat-wave? Have you also noticed that the weather is very hot and humid? Do you know that these types of heat waves and humidity are always pre cursors to meningitis epidemics?

   Do you also remember that, now is the appropriate period for meningitis outbreak and epidemics? I do not want to hear that, you do not live in meningitis-belt. Outbreak of meningitis is now pandemic and no respecter of any belt or zone. Meningitis has simply gone nuclear.

   Let us pay utmost attention now. For the sake of our children and wards. Please read this to the end.

λ According to Nigerian Centre for Disease Control ( NCDC). As I write – beginning from September 1, 2017 to January 25, 2018 and still counting, a total of 481 suspected cases of meningitis have been reported, and it is not yet an epidemic. Are we listening?

λ Let me break it down for us. Zamfara – 257, Katsina – 86, Sokoto – 41, Jigawa – 29, Bauchi – 20, Cross River – 17, Kebbi – 21, Yobe – 9, Kano – 4, Borno – 3, Adamawa – 2, and Kaduna – 1.

λ Did you notice that Cross River is in the South South. So nobody should sleep easily. With the erroneous impression “I do not live in meningitis belt “. Let me break down the reported cases.

1) Total cases of meningitis reported………481

2) Total deaths….82

3) Confirmed cases……79

4) Total samples tested…..176

5) States that have reported at least one case of meningitis…12

6) LGA’s in alert or surveillance for possible epidemic of meningitis….2

What every Nigerian should know about meningitis

   According to Sola Ogundipe and Chioma Obi health officialdoms as reported by Emmanuel Okogba.

λ Nigeria has a long history Cerebro-Spinal-Meningitis (CSM) epidemics. One of the worst occurred in 1996, when 109,580 cases and 11,717 deaths were recorded. We should not wait for another monumental fatalities before we do something.

λ Meningitis has become and annual fatalistic ritual. We shall vehemently and purposefully say no to any epidemic in 2018 for the sake of our children and wards.

Types of bacteria that can cause meningitis.

1) Streptococcus pneumonia.

2) Neisseria meningitidis.

3) Haemophilus influenza.

4) Listeria monocytogenes

Causes of meningitis and risk factors

1) Babies and toddlers are at the greatest risks, compared to other age groups.

   2) However any age-group and anybody can develop bacterial meningitis.

   3) People working in the laboratories with meningitis causing pathogens such as microbiologists.

How do we contact meningitis?

   1) People can carry the meningitis bacteria(carriers) without being sick, so they help to spread the disease.

2) Most of the meningitis cycles, start in Republic of Sudan and spread westwards reaching Nigeria.

3) The disease manifests itself in epidemic form, during the dry season.

   4) Absolute humidity, the degree and duration of crowding, as well as inadequacy of ventilation are important epidemiological factors.

5) Meningococcus – most frequently inhabits the nasopharynx and is transmitted from person to person by droplet spread, coughing and sneezing.

6) Also through throat secretions – saliva or spit, occurs through close coughing or kissing.

What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?

   1) Sudden onset of fever – headache and stiff neck.

   2) Nausea, vomiting, photo phobia – increased sensitivity to light.

   3) Altered mental status – confusion.

4) In babies – fever, headache, neck-stiffness may be difficult to elicit or notice

λ The baby could be irritable, vomit, feed poorly, or appear to be slow or inactive.

λ In young babies, doctors also look for, abnormal reflexes,  bulging fontanelle -soft spot on infant’s head.

λ If you think your baby or child has any of these symptoms – go to the nearest Health Centre immediately, or call your doctor.

5) Later symptoms of meningitis may include – seizures or coma.

Diagnosis of meningitis

Collection of blood or cerebrospinal fluids for laboratory tests.

Treatment of meningitis

Doctors treat meningitis with different sensitive antibiotics. Go to the hospital immediately.

Prevention of meningitis

1) Get your children or wards vaccinated against certain types of bacteria meningitis especially 3-types – trivalent.

2) Please re-read how meningitis is transmitted above, and strictly adhere to medical advice and protection.

3) Promptly seek medical care as soon as CSM or CSM-like illness is suspected.

4) All health care centres in Nigeria have been instructed to ensure that appropriate diagnoses are made, including laboratory confirmation, and immediate reporting through the surveillance system.

5) Early treatment is commenced as soon as diagnosis is made.

6) Restrict mingling with other people once one is diagnosed as a case of meningitis.

7) All Secondary and Tertiary Public Health Facilities have been mandated, by Federal Ministry of Health to provide free treatment for all meningitis patients.

   Always be medically guided.

Please follow me on twitter ; @ _ DRSUN.

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Online Editor: Aderonke Bello
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