Emergency Zone

Cerebrospinal Meningitis

Cerebrospinal meningitis – popularly known as CSM is a disease caused by a germ called Nesseria meningitidis which usually cause inflammation of the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. The disease often occurs in epidemic proportion around November of the year to about May of the following year when the rainy season starts. 

When CSM epidemic occurs, many people are usually affected at the same time, causing serious sickness and sometimes death of the affected person. It can be very serious among persons aged 1 to 30 years. Occasionally it affects older people.
Meningitis is often associated with blood poisoning, otherwise known as septicemia. It can cause blindness and/or deafness to those who recover from it . One of the worst problems in meningitis is that it can develop suddenly. A child or adult looking so well can in the next few hours be seriously sick of the disease. Another problem is that the symptoms can easily be confused with those of less serious infections like malaria or typhoid fever.
What are the symptoms of Meningitis?
In babies and young children meningitis can cause
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Refusal to eat or crying
  • Irritability
  • Bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on the topmost part of the baby’s head)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Floppy body
  • General stiffness with jerky movement
  • Pale skin
  • Rashes on the body
In older children and adults:
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Fever (38 OC axillary and 38.5OC rectal)
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsy or unconscious
In some cases the person may present with rashes that may look like tiny red pinpricks, and later may change to purplish red colour. Older children and adults may present with blood poisoning (septicemia). The person may complain of cold hands and feet, aching muscles and joints and stomach pain. Sometimes there may be diarrhea.
How do you get the disease?
Bacterial meningitis is very common during dry season. The bacteria are found in the nose and throat, particularly in teenagers and young adults and can be spread from person to person through droplets and discharges from an infected person through
  • Close contact
  • Close contact
  • Sneezing and Kissing
  • Saliva
  • Sputum
  • Shaking of hands with an infected person
  • Touching something that an infected person has handled
  • Infected stool
  • Adult changing the diapers of an infected infant.
How long will it take for the disease to manifest in a healthy person after contact with an infected person?
Normally it takes between 2 to 10 days for the person infected to develop signs and symptoms of the disease.
Vaccination: the good news is that there is vaccine to protect people against bacterial meningitis. Currently the vaccine has been distributed to Health Department of most Local Government areas who are most at risk for the vaccination of persons aged 2 to 30 years old. Vaccination against meningitis is free at government health facilities and when taken, the protection last for about 1 to2 years.
Since the disease usually spread fast among people who stay together in great numbers, it is advisable that situation that will bring many people together should be avoided during this season. People should open their windows at night to allow in fresh air and avoid contact with infected persons.
Importantly, every suspected case should be reported to a hospital or any Health Department nearest to us.
How is Meningitis Treated?
Meningitis is a disease that requires urgent treatment with antibiotics like oily chloramphenicol or ceftriazone. Do not wait until you see a rash on the body. If you notice any of the early warning signs and symptoms, go to the nearest health centre for immediate medical attention. If meningitis is detected and treated early, the patient has great chance of survival.

For Further Information, please contact:

1. Dr. Yisa Saka : 08033029387 
2. Mr. Aniefiok Moses : 08023214998
Federal Ministry of Health/ National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

NEMA Nigeria

All correspondences should be addressed to: Public Relations Division, National Emergency Management Agency, No. 8, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent Maitama, Abuja Email: nemapress@yahoo.com or info@nema.gov.ng
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