More than 1,400 cases of meningitis have been registered in Ceara in the last four years; learn how to prevent disease Ceará

According to Ceará, from 2018 to the first week of March this year, the state has confirmed 1,458 cases of meningitis. The highest incidence in 2019 was 5.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest epidemiological bulletin from the State Ministry of Health (Sesa).

This Sunday (January 24) is the World Day for the Prevention of Meningitis, which aims to strengthen the population in preventing the disease. Symptoms of the disease include fever, jet vomiting, headache, convulsions, red spots on the body, pain and stiffness in the neck that can lead to death.

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As of March 5, 2022, Ceará confirmed 26 cases without death. From 2018 to the end of 2021, however, there were 136 deaths from the disease. Adherence to the vaccination program is one of the most effective measures in preventing meningitis, says Sesassa Vilani Matos, coordinator of epidemiological surveillance and health prevention (Covep).

“Keeping the vaccination card up to date is essential. In general, routine vaccinations are very important to reduce the incidence of preventable diseases. In the municipality of Cearán, health centers are available for this need,” he says.

Vaccines available and vaccination schedule

Vaccine Population Age doses
BCG (Prevention of Severe Tuberculosis – Military and Meningitis) Children in the making Single dose
Pentavalent (meningitis and H. influenzae type B infections) Children 2 months / 4 months / 6 months D1 / D2 / D3
10-valent pneumococcus (invasive disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and acute otitis media) Children 2 months / 4 months / 12 months D1 / D2 / Confirmation
Meningococcal C conjugate (systemic disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C) Children 2 months / 4 months / 12 months D1 / D2 / Confirmation
Meningococcal ACWY (infections caused by meningococcal type A, C, W and Y bacteria) teenagers 11 and 12 years Single dose

See below for more information on meningitis.

According to the Ministry of Health, it is a disease that can be triggered by viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Meningitis poses significant public health challenges, mainly due to the risk of an outbreak. It is therefore important that people are properly vaccinated.

The infectivity of the disease occurs mainly through contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected patient.

Vilani Matos, coordinator of epidemiological surveillance and health prevention, says asymptomatic people are “potential vectors”.

In children under 1 year of age, the symptoms may not be as obvious. Vilani warns parents to look for signs of irritability, such as constant crying, in addition to bulging fountain (a bulge in the baby’s soft spot) and not feeding.

People with symptoms of meningitis should go to the nearest health center for medical attention. In more complex cases, First Aid Units (UPAs) work 24 hours a day to meet a spontaneous need.

“To avoid complications, early treatment is a differentiating factor. After the first assessment, if the diagnosis is suspected, the patient is referred to a reference facility. Treatment is performed with specific medications for each type of pathogen,” guides Vilani.

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