Cerebro Spinal Meningitis: Essential Facts you must know

Since November 2016, Nigeria has begun to experience an increase in the occurence of cerebro spinal meningitis in Nigeria. As of April 6, 2017, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control published a situation report about this outbreak. According to the report, the most common serotype in this outbreak is the Neisseria meningitidis C (Nm C). The report also indicated that about 19 states have been affected. The hardest hit are Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Niger State. However, intensified case-finding going on in the affected states have produced fresh data. As at 5th April 2017, a total of 3,959 cases with 438 deaths have been reported, with 181 laboratory confirmed cases.

So, what exactly is Cerebro Spinal Meningitis?

Cerebro Spinal Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord and the brain. The lining of the brain is the meninges hence the name “meningitis.” It is a life threatening disease that is caused mostly by bacteria and viruses.There are actually five types of meningitis. We have bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic and non-infectious meningitis. These types have similar symptoms.

In Nigeria, however, the type that is prevalent is the bacterial meningitis. The leading infectious agent is the Neisseria meningitidis. The type A serotype of  N. meningitidis is the one that is known to cause most outbreaks especially in Africa and in Asia. However, in this recent outbreak, we are confronted with the Type C serotype.

Symptoms of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis

The symptoms of CSM include:

  • Fever.
  • Stiff Neck.
  • Nausea.
  • Headaches.
  • Vomiting.
  • Photophobia (increased sensitivity to light).
  • Altered mental Status.

How does Cerebro Spinal Meningitis Spread?

CSM is spread through saliva and other respiratory secretions through coughing, sneezing and kissing. It is also spread through close living contact with someone who has the disease. It can also be spread through a carrier.

Treatment of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis

CSM is treated with antibiotics. And it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. However, like most infections, prevention is the way to go. Meningitis can be prevented through vaccination.