Vaccination against meningitis has not reached its goal in the last two years at Ceara; know the risks and symptoms – Ceará

Ceara residents were unable to protect themselves from vaccine-preventable diseases during the first two years of the pandemic because they feared leaving home. And an open window during this time facilitates the transmission of meningitis, for example – 4 vaccines against the disease could not get immunization target for 2020 and 2021 in Ceara.

This context will gain more visibility this Sunday (the 24th) World Day for the Prevention of Meningitis. Because Northeast Diary brings expert analysis of disease symptoms, treatment, consequences, and prevention.

Before that, it is worth understanding the scenario a little more closely protection Cearassa. BCG vaccine that is effective in the treatment of meningitis tuberculosis, should apply to 90% of the target audience, but was around 60% during that period. The last time, inclusive, was satisfactory in 2018.

In the last two years, meningococcal C, Pentavalent and pneumococcal vaccines, which aim to give 95% of babies, have also been fell short ideal in Ceara. The data are from the National Vaccination Program Information System (SI-PNI).

Even in this absence, the number of confirmed cases at health centers fell by 49.8% in 2020, as did Covid prevention measures, such as the use of a mask, complicates transmission meningitis.

Although 528 patients with the disease were diagnosed in Ceara in 2019, the number dropped to 265 in the first year of the pandemic. This monitoring is carried out by the State Ministry of Health (Sesa).

Check the number of confirmed cases of meningitis in Ceara:

  • 2018: 426
  • 2019: 528
  • 2020: 265
  • 2021: 213
  • 2022:26 (updated March 5)

By early March, 13 cities had reported cases of meningitis. And now we live in a time when social interaction takes place without restrictions and there are fewer people protected from meningitis, according to pediatrician Valderi Júnior, the risk is high.

Subtitle: Vaccination is the main way to protect children against meningitis because it produces an immune response in the body.

Photograph: Thiago Gadelha

“The risk in the current scenario, with so much rain and the return of social contacts, greatly facilitates the transmission of meningitis, as most of them are transmitted by air,” he adds.

Vaccines are important in curbing the spread of the disease, as he advocates. “Some teenagers are classified as healthy carriers. They have bacteria, like meningococcus, in their throats. But this bacterium does nothing to them, but it can infect,” he explains.

Vaccines significantly reduce the incidence of meningitis. Some groups are more susceptible to diseases that impair the effectiveness of the immune system

Based on a case study from 2018 to 2022, the National Institute of Health warns that the majority of cases (27.5%) occur in people aged 20–34, men (65.2%), racial / brown (95.3%) and residents. in urban areas (85%).

Sesa also contextualizes that high population density – many people live in the same environment and even in precarious conditions – contributes to the spread of the disease.

Also check

The purpose of vaccination

How to identify meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, a membrane in which the central nervous system, such as the brain, is covered, as Lauro Vieira Perdigão Neto, technical director and infectious disease specialist at São José Hospital (HSJ), explains.

“This is a very important disease because it can lead to serious cases, including consequences and even death,” he stresses.

Meningitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, such as tuberculosis, and fungi, as explained by an infectologist. “These microorganisms are most often transmitted through the airways, which is the main form of infection,” he adds.

Patients with suspected disease are considered emergency for proper evaluation and initiation of treatment.

“The main symptoms of meningitis are fever, often high. Convulsions, headaches, neck stiffness, vomiting and even skin damage,” the doctor lists.

The Ministry of Health indicates the symptoms and treatments for meningitis according to the cause. Check key information:



  • Similar to colds and flu
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • loss of appetite
  • Irritation


  • Medications fight fever and pain and help relieve symptoms.



  • High fever
  • indisposition
  • vomiting
  • Severe headache and neck pain
  • Difficulty putting your chin on your chest
  • Red spots spread on the body
  • In babies, the soft spot is elevated.


  • Intravenous use of antibiotics. This must happen quickly to avoid complications and consequences.

In contrast, meningitis caused by fungi or tuberculosis bacilli, according to the Ministry of Health, requires long-term treatment based on oral or intravenous antibiotics and chemotherapeutic drugs.

Severe forms of meningitis

Valderi Júnior warns about how quickly the disease can reach patients and causes the need for follow-up in intensive care units (ICUs). In addition, in some cases, the development of meningitis can cause death in a few hours.

Depending on the age group, irritability, soft spot elevation, vomiting, and convulsions are warning signs. “A child can’t put his chin on his chest,” he emphasizes one of the symptoms.


Subtitle: Meningococcal vaccines such as Meningococcal ACWY are also available for adolescents.

Photograph: Fabiane de Paula

“It has a very strong characteristic of a headache, which we call a holocranial headache that takes a child’s entire head,” he introduces.

Of the 1,458 confirmed cases of meningitis between 2018 and 2022 136 (9.33%) caused deathAccording to the Ministry of Health. Despite the decline in cases, mortality remained stable last year.

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