On Thursday, March 30, 2017, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in five states with 282 deaths.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer of the centre, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja. Ihekweazu said that 1,966 suspected cases have been recorded while 109 have been confirmed since the outbreak of the disease in February in the country. Meningitis can be fatal within 24 hours. What are some facts Nigerians need to know about the sickness before it is too late so they can take preventive measures? The Health research funding website gave the following facts:

1. There are different forms of Meningitis

Meningitis can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or even fungi on certain occasions. Because of this, being able to recognize the cause of the infection that is swelling up the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord is critically important. The bacterial version of meningitis is the most deadly, accounting for the deaths of over 120,000 people around the world every year.

2. It kills fast

It is possible for someone to die from meningitis just 24 hours after the initial symptoms of the disease take place. About 10% of the cases of meningitis prove fatal even when treatment is received immediately. Another 20% of people will receive some form of permanent brain damage or disability as a direct result of the disease, meaning that only 70% of people with meningitis recover after encountering the symptoms.

3. It has no age barrier

Meningitis is known to affect kids under the age of 5 and teens between the ages of 15-19 the most often, but the nature of the disease means that it can affect anyone at any time. It does not matter where someone lives in the world today. Meningitis may be more frequent in low income areas and where vaccines are not as available, but it is still found in every corner of every society.

4. Vaccines can help prevent it

One of the most effective ways to stop meningitis before it ever starts is to be vaccinated against the disease. That’s why it is recommended as a part of every child’s vaccination program today. By exposing people to the dead and dying bacteria that cause the deadliest forms of the disease, children receive a higher level of protection against all bacterial forms of the disease.

5. Smoking increases the risk of Meningitis

Meningitis is often spread through personal contact, which is why smoking causes many people to become carriers of the virus or bacteria. Although seasonal factors can also contribute to the ability of people to pick up the disease and spread it, smoking is the #1 way that people increase their chances of picking up meningitis.

6. It leads to major illnesses

Those that have survived symptoms of meningitis are likely to suffer long term health effects such as deafness, brain damage, learning difficulties, seizures, and limited physical activity and abilities.

7. Other ways apart from vaccination

One of the top ways to prevent symptoms and risks of contracting meningitis is to become vaccinated. Other prevention tactics include hand washing frequently, exercising regularly, maintain a stable immune system, and cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

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