Meningitis Outbreak in Nigeria and Why You Should Care

There is currently a meningitis outbreak in Nigeria which is life threatening. This dangerous disease can also cause deafness, epilepsy or cognitive deficits in the long term if it’s not caught and treated.

A CNN article reports that across 15 states nearly 2 000 suspected cases have been recorded and 109 have been treated since the outbreak began in February. According to Nigeria's Center for Disease Control, the meningitis outbreak has killed more than 300 people in Nigeria.

The most affected age group is 5- to 14-year-olds and they are responsible for about half of reported cases. Both sexes are almost equally affected.

Here are the symptoms you should watch out for:

  • High fever
  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
What is Meningitis?

The term meningitis is used when the protective layers of the brain and spinal cord, the meninges, are acutely inflamed.

What Causes Meningitis?

The infection could be bacterial or viral. Because it’s located so close to the brain and spine the disease is often life threatening. A speedy and accurate diagnosis is therefore vital, but vaccination is even more important.

How Can Meningitis be Prevented and Treated?

Vaccination can be effective when it comes to preventing meningitis and some types of meningitis can be treated with antibiotics. Other ways to prevent this deadly disease from spreading:

  • Get vaccinated for the new strain.
  • Don’t kiss or share personal items with victims.
  • Avoid contact with victims, especially contact with their saliva and nasal mucus.
  • Boost your immune system by taking supplements: Vitamins A, C, E and D.
  • Keep buildings ventilated.
THE CURRENT PROBLEM

According to Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, the current disease that’s now prevalent in Nigeria is a new strain (stereotype C), possibly from a neighbouring country, which requires a different type of vaccine. However, up to 1.3 million vaccines have now been acquired.

The Abuja Centre for Diseases Control has stated that this present outbreak is the worst case in Nigeria since 2009 when 156 lost their lives.

The following agencies, organisations and programmes are providing support to this outbreak:

  • The WHO
  • National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)
  • UNICEF
  • Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP)
  • eHealth Africa
  • Médecins Sans Frontières, Rotary International
  • Nigeria Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC)

IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY SYMPTOMS, PLEASE VISIT YOUR CLOSEST GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL AS PER THE LATEST REGULATIONS PAST BY THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT ON WEDNESDAY 5 APRIL 2017.IF YOU KNOW ANYONE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS, DIRECT THEM TO THE GOVERNMENT HOSPTIALS.

Sources: Ventures Africa, CNN & WHO