Why you should take meningococcal meningitis seriously?
Created by Preeti Updated on Apr 30, 2020
As we celebrate World Meningitis Day this month, let me take some time and tell you a personal story and why you should take this name seriously.
About five years ago, when I had just got married and not even planning for a child, an untimely death occurred in my husband’s family. All that I remember now that it was due to meningitis and happened within 24 hours
Today when I was looking for some information about vaccines, I came across the term ‘meningitis’ and the memories of that incident came back to me.
On further research, I found that some bacterial forms of the disease are vaccine-preventable
Vaccine-preventable means you can get vaccinated and develop immunity against the disease.
On discussing the disease in detail with my doctor here is what I learned, and why I feel every parent should know this:
What is Meningococcal meningitis?
Meningococcal Meningitis is a bacterial infection. Almost 1/10th of the healthy adults can carry the bacteria in their nose or back of the throat. Most uninfected carriers wouldn’t even know it as bacteria as its mere presence doesn’t cause any symptoms. The most common forms of this infection are:
Infection of covering of the brain, which is called ‘meningitis’ and
The infection of blood or ‘blood poisoning’ which is called septicemia
Although the bacteria may spread via droplets just like flu, the infection is rare but much deadlier than common flu. It may claim a life in just about 24 hours unless diagnosed and treated quickly enough.
What are the Symptoms of meningococcal Meningitis?
Identifying the disease quickly is important yet could be challenging, as it’s initial symptoms can be very similar to common flu. Fast diagnosis and antibacterial treatment are key to survival if infected.
The symptoms which are most common but not restricted to, are:
Stiffness in the neck
High sensitivity to light
The disease deteriorates rapidly and therefore it’s crucial to receive treatment as soon as possible. Even the family members and anyone in close contact with the infected should receive antibiotics as a preventive measure.
Can You Prevent Meningococcal Meningitis?
Fortunately, yes, some forms of bacterial and viral meningitis are preventable through vaccination. Meningococcal meningitis is one of those vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis. Available vaccines may provide protection from single serogroup to 4 serogroups i.e monovalent vaccine to quadrivalent vaccine. In India, parents may opt to provide vaccination for infants above 9 months of age against this deadly disease
I had decided to vaccinate my baby against meningococcal meningitis and protect her from this serious disease.
I hope this blog clarifies how important meningococcal meningitis vaccination is for everyone. Do share your views in the comments below.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views solely of the blogger. This is a part of a public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child's health should be done after consultation with your doctor. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields means the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. Slim expectations or the authors should be in no way held responsible in that case.