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    How to handle reoccurrence of Meningitis outbreak

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    Bisola Akinlabihttps://naija247news.com/
    Akinlabi Bisola is a health and meds journalist with a deep background in Public Health Education and with a B.Sc in Health Education and Masters in Public Health Educator. You can catch up on her articles on her website thelbybisola.com

    by Akinlabi bisola

    The current Meningitis outbreak in some parts of the country prompted my writing. According to the National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) 14 Meningitis outbreak have been recorded from March 2017 to December 2018 with some outbreak spanning for as long as 51 weeks, despite this statistical knowledge and the awareness about the season this disease thrive more I belief adequate preparedness have not always been carried out which could be the reason for the consistent outbreaks.
    Now let’s educate ourselves a little about Meningitis. Meningitis which is also called Cerebrospinal Meningitis is the inflammation of the Meninges( which are membranes which surrounds the brain and spinal cord). It occurs when the meninges becomes infected, the infection could be caused by a bacteria or virus. Meningitis is a disease that is highly communicable hence the outbreak and if not treated immediately could lead to death or permanent damage to some organs in the body( ears).
    Symptoms of Meningitis
    Symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis can be similar in the beginning but the symptoms of bacterial Meningitis are usually more severe. The symptoms also can vary depending on age.
    Viral Meningitis Symptoms
    In infants:
    – Decreased appetite
    – Irritability
    – Sleepiness
    – Lethargy
    – Fever
    In adults:
    – Headache
    – Fever
    – Stiff neck
    – Seizures
    – Sensitivity to bright light
    – Sleepiness
    – Lethargy
    – Nausea and vomiting
    – Decreased appetite
    Bacterial Meningitis symptoms
    Bacterial Meningitis develop suddenly and it includes:
    – Altered mental status
    – Nausea and vomiting
    – Sensitivity to light
    – irritability
    – Headache
    – Fever
    – chills
    – Stiff neck
    – Sleepiness
    – Purple areas of skin that resemble bruises
    – Lethargy
    However even I’d an individual manifest some of the above listed symptoms it is not enough to jump into conclusion until a proper diagnosis process have been carried out by a physician.
    Mode of transmission
    The mode of transmission is usually through direct contact with body fluids such as mucus faeces, saliva, droppings from sneezing and coughing.
    Prevention and control
    – Vaccination
    – Avoid touching of rails while climbing stairs as this is a very easy way of contacting communicable diseases
    – Cultivated proper handwashing habit
    – Ensure where you stay is well ventilated
    – Ensure you sneez and cough into an handkerchief.
    The consistent outbreak I suppose should lead to the inclusion of Meningitis vaccine in the National Immunizations Routine because I belief it cannot be that difficult as I can remember my secondary school days, Jss 2 to be precise , I attended a boarding school and during a particular period two of my seniors died few days apart since we stay in a domitory an outbreak was suspected my schola principal didn’t waste time in sending everybody home so as to prevent further casualties and we were all told to go for test. Meningitis was suspected to be the cause of death due to the recorded symptoms the deceased students presented at the dispensary I guess as for me I was super happy as it was an opportunity for me to go home, we spent few weeks at home and on returning the Ministry of health sent health workers to vaccinate the entire school, I could remember my classmate “sade” very beautiful yellow pawpaw girl she didn’t want to take the vaccine she insisted her mother already gave her as she is a Nurse, poor girl the Nurses didn’t listen to her plea as she was still vaccinated they said she shouldn’t worry there is no overdose of the vaccine she cried her eyes out that .
    If just two students dieing in a school could bring about such swift and effective action I see no reason outbreaks in several communities that the NCDC is aware are prone to it should not bring about the same action or could it be that the low level acceptance of vaccination by the affected communities be the reason for the slow down?, or could it be that the Ministry of health and other health parastatals are not using the right communication strategies to pass information on Meningitis?. Some people might even be benefitting from the outbreak as they see it as opportunity to get fund for supposed project that will not be carried out or even if carried out will not be done properly so there can be another one hence more money for them.

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