Federal government alerts Nigerians on meningitis outbreak

Nigeria begins mass vaccination drive to fight meningitis outbreak

The Presidency has asked Nigerians to be on the lookout for the outbreak of meningitis.

Health minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, who issued the alert, warned that the season when the disease is always thrive is fast approaching.

The minister said that treating victims of the disease is very expensive, and government does not have the fund to buy adequate vaccine to contain its outbreak.

Adewole speaking in Ibadan, at a meeting with the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, explained that the cost of a vial of conjugate vaccine is $20, while a vial of polyvalent vaccine is $3.

The minister said the devastating outbreak of the disease last year is due to the late reporting of the disease in Zamfara State.

”All of us know what meningitis is, it requires a lumbar puncture, look at the fluid cerebrospinal fluid, when you check and it is milky, then you know there is infection and you can culture it and begin treatment.
 
“It is so easy to treat because the causative organism is responsive to antibiotics, but when we do not know that it is meningitis, we could treat malaria for three to five days, typhoid for one week then by the time we get to know, it would have spread.
 
“And it spreads like wildfire. As we attend to patients, 10 people can surround the infected person and that one patient would infect six or seven persons and it spreads like that. So this is the season to alert people to look out and promptly report any suspicion to nearest health facility.”
  
“Prompt reporting by people will assist the government to curtail further spread, and even deaths, because, “The government does not have enough money to vaccinate the whole country. The meningococcal vaccine is expensive and what we are trying to do case detection. Once we have a case to treat, it causes what we call an epidemic and we can quickly do its prevention, so help us alert Nigerians that this is the season and we need to curtail it,” he said.

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