The Outbreak That May Have Gotten To Your Neighborhood
The current outbreak of Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in Nigeria is an issue of global concern. The first recorded outbreak CSM sero-type A was in 1999 and since then there has been several repeated outbreaks in 2003, 2008 and 2009. These outbreaks took the lives of many Nigerians before they were contained and eradicated by Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) with the collaboration of other International Donor Agencies.
The new situation is the emergence of the sero-type C which had not been in Nigeria before now. What is more worrisome is the speed with which it is spreading to different states in the country. According to Biodun Ogunniyi an Epidemiologist, National Centre for Disease Control Nigeria, there are about 3,959 suspected cases in 19 states of the federation, with Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebi, kastina, and Niger, states recording highest number of cases. So far over 400 deaths have been recorded.
As at the time of the outbreak in Zamfara last year November, the FMH was not prepared to combat this new strain of sero-type C because the vaccine was not in the country. This gap contributed to the spread of the virus to other states. At the moment health workers and the vaccine are being deployed to intervene in all affected states. However, a budget of N1.1bn has been presented by FMH to combat the virus. Yet, the big question is; “when will the country start the production of vaccines?”
Symptoms of CSM
Headache, High fever, vomiting, pain, restlessness, stiffness of neck, fear of light
· Vaccination with the sero-type vaccine.
· Call health workers / go to the hospital when you are sick or see any of the symptoms.
· Proper disposal of respiratory and throat secretions.
· Avoid close and prolonged contact with suspect/patients.
· Avoid self medication.
· Avoid crowded places.
· Stay in a well ventilated area.
· Reduce kissing, mouth to mouth resuscitation in medical interventions, sharing of unwashed utensils, hand shaking.
· Observe adequate hand hygiene and cough/sneeze into the elbow joint/ sleeves.
· Get this information to others.
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