Read on to learn about this infectious disease and find out how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
HOW MENINGITIS SPREADS
The bacteria that cause the disease spread from person-to-person through droplets from the nose and throat. For example, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, these droplets escape into the air and can be inhaled by others. Meningitis C also spreads through saliva so kissing, sharing cutlery, and sharing items like toothbrushes or cigarettes are other ways to get infected.
Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within 3 to 7 days after exposure to someone who is sick, but it depends.
Some meningitis symptoms mimic malaria symptoms so please seek professional health advice if you have the following:
To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure you:
Health professionals are encouraged to report suspected or probable cases, observe universal safety precautionary measures, and make use of personal protective equipment when treating suspected cases.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET SICK
Early diagnosis is important to increase the chances of a full recovery. If you suspect that you or someone around you has meningitis C, seek medical treatment immediately.
For suspected cases, contact:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question: “I was vaccinated in primary school and I remember that it was very painful but I don’t know which strain I was vaccinated against. Can you find out which meningitis vaccine you’ve had before if you don’t have medical records?”
Answer: The only way to be absolutely sure about which vaccinations you have had is to get your immunization records. Contact current and former doctors if possible to get this information.
Question: “How can I stay safe when I live in a face-me-I-face-you setting?”
Answer: These kinds of living conditions involve risk factors such as heat, close contact, congestion, and poor ventilation which can encourage the spread of diseases such as meningitis, since it’s spread by prolonged contact with an infected person. So it’s important to make sure your surroundings are hygienic and that you practise proper hygiene too. Always wash your hands with soap to reduce the likelihood that you will be infected with meningitis. Encourage your family and neighbors to also keep themselves and surroundings clean.
Question: “If you’ve been vaccinated before do you need to be vaccinated again? Is it lifetime coverage?”
Answer: The meningitis vaccine does not protect you forever. If it has been more than 5 years, you may need a booster especially if you think you are at risk of contracting meningitis. If there is a different meningitis strain spreading, the previous vaccination you had for another strain will not protect you.
Question: “Can an individual go to the hospital and get the Meningitis C vaccine?”
Answer: Unfortunately, the vaccine is in limited supply around the world. The doses Nigeria has secured are being distributed in the 5 most affected states in the North since they are the priority.
Do you have other questions? Email us at [email protected]!