3.4.4 Prevention and control of meningococcal meningitis
Next we describe how to prevent meningococcal meningitis from spreading in a community. The most important preventive and control methods are summarised in Box 3.3.
Box 3.3 Strategies to prevent and control meningitis
- Early identification and prompt treatment of cases in the health facility and in the community.
- Education of people in the community on the symptoms of meningitis, the mode of transmission and the treatment of the disease.
- Reporting any cases of meningitis to the District Health Office; and avoiding close contact with the sick persons. Your health education messages should tell everyone about this.
- Vaccination against meningococcus bacteria of types A, C, Y and W135, as described in the Immunization Module.
A mass immunization campaign that reaches at least 80% of the entire population with meningococcus vaccines can prevent an epidemic. However, these vaccines are not effective in young children and infants, and they only provide protection for a limited time, especially in children younger than two years old. A single case of meningitis could be a warning sign for the start of an epidemic. As a community Health Extension Practitioner, you will need to educate your community about the symptoms of meningitis and how it is transmitted. All cases should be reported to the District Health Office.
The next study session is also about vaccine-preventable diseases, but we turn your attention to those common diseases of this type that are caused by viruses.