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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made us realise the importance of vaccines. Vaccines are vital to contain the spread of an infectious disease. Vaccinations stimulate the immune system against a particular microbe and can provide protection against life-threatening diseases by using the body’s natural defence system.
Much like pneumococcal pneumonia, many other diseases spread by viruses and bacteria can be prevented with the help of vaccines. One such disease is meningococcal meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis is associated with a high fatality rate. It predominantly affects small children and can cause severe brain damage if left untreated.
Here’s everything you need to know about this severe infection!
Meningitis is a serious infection that affects the protective layer around the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, which has the potential to cause a epidemic. It can be transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets. It can also be caused by viruses and fungi.
This bacterial infection can prove fatal for people, as there have been cases when people have died within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Even among those who survive, 1 in 5 may experience lifelong complications such as hearing loss, brain damage, mental disabilities, or loss of limbs.
Although the meningococcal disease can affect anyone of any age, it can be mostly observed in children under five years of age, immunocompromised individuals, adolescents, and young adults.
But there have been major improvements in the field of medicine, and there are ways to prevent a disease or an infection (or to lower the complications caused by it.). One such measure is a vaccine, as it can prevent the spread of infection, reduce complications, and eventually, save lives. Good hygiene and maintaining social distance, especially from infected individuals can also prevent the spread of infection.
As this infection is common in children, it is natural for parents to worry and have questions about it. Find out how meningococcal meningitis spreads. Also, learn about its symptoms and how it can be treated!
Does Meningococcal Meningitis Spread and What Are Its Symptoms?
Meningococcal meningitis is contagious and can spread through coughing, sneezing, and sharing food and drinks. Living in close quarters with a child who is infected can also result in contracting meningococcal meningitis, as the virus thrives in the nose and throat of the infected person, and whenever that person coughs or sneezes, it could pass to another person in close proximity.
The symptoms of meningitis are common such as a common cold and flu, but these symptoms can quickly progress to high fever or chills, confusion, cold hands and feet, severe aches or pain in the muscles, dark purple rashes, sensitivity to light and neck stiffness.
How to Prevent Meningitis
An effective way to protect your child against meningococcal disease is by getting them vaccinated.
There are different types of vaccines for different types of meningococcal disease. The meningococcal ACWY vaccine, which’s available in India, can help protect against four major types of meningococcal disease, and which is you must get your child vaccinated in time.
Meningococcal disease is a severe condition and poses numerous risks, but with timely vaccination in children, it is possible to protect them. If your child has not been administered a vaccine for the same, consult your doctor, and get your child vaccinated. If children get vaccinated in time, we can fight and win the war against meningitis.