Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and can cause severe brain damage. Meningococcal meningitis is fatal in 50% of cases if untreated.

Nigeria/Alvaro1984 18
Nigeria/Alvaro1984 18

Though cases of meningitis occur throughout the world, large, recurring epidemics affect an extensive region of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt” which includes Nigeria. This happens during the dry season (November through May).

Over the last month, there has been an increase in the reporting of suspected cases of Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Bayelsa and Ondo with confirmed cases of Neisseria Meningitis Type C (Nmc) reported in Zamfara and Jigawa States, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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This has prompted officials to offer the following tips to prevent the spread of bacterial meningitis:

Avoid overcrowding and ensure adequate ventilation in the home

• Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or by blowing into the elbow when sneezing or coughing.

• Wash your hands frequently especially after coughing or sneezing.

• Visit a health facility if you have sudden high fever or neck stiffness for diagnosis and treatment

• All health workers are advised to practice universal care precautions at all times: i.e. wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill relative

It is very important to report to the nearest health facility immediately, if you experience any of the signs or symptoms of bacterial meningitis–sudden high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, difficulty concentrating, and convulsions.

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