…with Dr Qbas

Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) is also known as Meningococcal disease or Cerebrospinal fever. It is an infectious disease resulting in the inflammation of the meninges {the thin membranes covering the brain and spinal cord} of both brain and spinal cord.

 

Disease Name

This disease called Cerebrospinal meningitis was so named in 1873.

 

What Microorganism Can Cause CSM?
The only organism responsible for CSM is Neisseria meningitides (also called Diplococcus intracellularis meningitides or Meningococus)
This organism has preference for cerebral membranes
It is common and naturally widely distributed but usually harmless. It’s found in the nose and throat of man, this can overwhelm the body immune system to cause meningitis and systemic disease to a susceptible individual.
It has a very short incubation period of 2-10 days.

 

Talking About The Occurence Of CSM
• It occurs worldwide as endemic and epidemic (seasonal) forms
• It is common in Asia and sub-Sahara Africa called the “Meningitis belt”. Countries involved includes: Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Togo.
• The rate of infection in Africa was 1 in 1000 to 1 in 100 before the advent of vaccine in the year 2010.
• There is presently an outbreak in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria (involving states like Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina and Yobe with more than 156 people reported deaths)
• It is a major cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults.
• It has a rapid progression and can be fatal resulting in about 5-10% of patients’ death within the first 24-48hrs of onset of symptoms

 

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of CSM?
In Babies and Young Children
• Fever
• Vomiting
• Irritability
• Refusal to feed
• High pitched, inconsolable or moaning cry
• Pale shin
• Bulging or tensed fontanel
• Convulsion
• Rapid breathing
• Floppy body or stiffness with some jerky movements

In older children and adults
• Severe Headache
• Stiff neck
• Fever
• photophobia
• vomiting
• altered consciousness or coma
• features of septicaemia like: rash, cold hands and feet, joint and muscle aches, stomach pain and diarrhoea

 

What Are The Available Ways To Detect CSM In Laboratory?
Rapid diagnostic test to help make rapid and correct diagnosis of cases
Blood cerebrospinal fluid tests to identify the organism and body response to the infection

 

How Can CSM Be Contracted?
• CSM spread through droplets (saliva and respiratory secretions)
• Prolong close contact with infected person
• Coughing
• Sneezing
• Kissing
• Sharing of eating and drinking utensils
• Chewing on toys

 

Is There A Way I can Protect Myself From Contracting CSM?
Yes!

Through vaccination:

Routine immunization is recommended for adolescents (11-18 years). However, this is not practicable in African meningitis belt as the vaccine only offers protection for 3-5years. Thus vaccine are offered to involved areas on outbreak of the disease.
Through Proper hygiene i.e Hand washing

Avoid direct contact with secretions from infected person

Covering of mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing

Avoid overcrowding

Provide adequate ventilation in houses

 

How Can CSM Be Treated?
Suspicion of meningitis is a medical emergency!
Seek medical attention quickly if you observe the following symptoms in your child: sudden fever, severe headache and neck stiffness.
Early treatment can help prevent serious complications.
Drugs used in treatment of CSM includes: Ceftriaxone, Penicillin G, Chloramphenicol, corticosteroids like dexamethasone. The physician will determine the appropriate medication and dosage for the individual.
Rehydration and oxygen may be required.

 

What Are The Risk Factors For CSM?
 Age; children are mostly at risk
 Skipping of vaccinations
 Dry weather
 Dusty winds
 Cold nights
 Large population/overcrowding
 Resent travel to states in meningitis belt (In Nigeria they are Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara etc.)
 Weak immune system resulting from AIDS, diabetes, alcoholism, immunosuppressive drugs
 Spleen removal
 Respiratory infections
 Smoking
 Complement deficiencies

 

What Are The Drugs One Can Take To Prevent Getting Infected?
People who have close contacts with infected individuals should be placed on either of the following drugs:
Rifampicin
Azithromycin
Ceftriaxone

 

Are There Any Long Term Problems CSM May Cause?

Yes!
Hearing loss
Blindness
Learning impairment
Epilepsy
Behavioural, emotional and psychological problems
Abnormal Gait
Amputation
Skin Scarring
Bone and joint damage
Kidney failure

 

On A Final Note
Cerebrospinal meningitis is a disease that calls for immediate intervention in other to secure the lives of the general populace.

Featured photo credit: Vanguardngr.com 

 

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Joggling between Medicine, politics and entrepreneurship, Dr Afuye Olubunmi Olusola (popularly called Dr Qbas) has shown herself to be indeed talented and ambitious; who seasoned with administrative prospect have served in various capacities acquiring training in Health, leadership, conflict resolution and peace building in line with her managerial knowledge and natural strengths to provide better health care for a greater Nigeria. This excellent, highly adaptive and trainable Doctor has devoted most of her life to human welfare in her dedication to hospital visitations, health promotion in secondary and tertiary schools and serving as a medical consultant in several medical outreaches. For health tips you can reach her: Email: olusola.olubunmi4555@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/afuye.o.olusola

 

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