In November 2016, a Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) disease outbreak started in Zamfara State. Almost 5 months later, the disease has killed hundreds and has now spread to other states. These are all the facts we know about the outbreak.
1. About 328 people have been killed by meningitis in Nigeria
CMS occurs when the thin tissue covering the brain -meninges- is inflamed.
2. More than 5 states are currently affected including Lagos and Abuja
According to Premium Times it spilled over from Sokoto( in map) to Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, FCT, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Osun, Cross Rivers, Lagos and Plateau states.
3. 4 West African countries are currently affected, but Nigeria suffers the most cases
African Meningitis Belt includes the countries usually affected by an outbreak. Currently, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are also reportedly
affected by the disease.
4. CMS is caused by the Neisseria meningitides bacteria
Symptoms include a stiff neck, high fever, rash, headache, vomiting, and confusion.
5. It’s a COMMUNICABLE disease
Respiratory secretions transfer the disease through kissing, sneezing, coughing, and sharing of eating or drinking utensils.
6. CMS is curable
The disease is treatable with antibiotics, although 5-10% of affected persons die within 24 hours. Once you notice the symptoms, present yourself at a medical centre immediately.
7. How can you prevent yourself?
The most effective way is vaccination. Staying away from infected people, avoiding other people’s utensils or any item that may transfer saliva or respiratory secretions, washing your hands regularly as well as eating healthy to boost your immune system are ways to prevent CMS.