Meningitis is a worrying disease that requires constant surveillance by the health authorities of Goiás.
Thus, the death of a two-year-old child last Sunday (17) in Minaçu, in the north of Goiás, triggered a warning signal in the state. That’s because, in her report, there were suspicious symptoms of bacterial meningitis.
To learn more about the disease, Portal 6 contacted Professor Helena Rezende, a specialist in neurology at the Faculty of Medicine at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG), who explained how the disease manifests itself among people.
According to her, meningitis is an infection that affects the protective layers (the meninges) that cover the nervous system. It can be caused by various agents, such as bacteria, fungi and even some types of viruses.
“In bacterial infections the symptoms manifest themselves quickly. It can take hours or even days to occur. This is the most common type that we find in consultations”.
“In other cases, the development is slower, and it may take weeks or months for the patient to show symptoms”, explained Helena.
The teacher pointed out that the most common signs of the disease are headache and malaise. In more acute cases, it causes fever, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, difficulty moving the neck and back pain.
“There are some cases where the infection progresses to the brain, becoming encephalitis, and it can cause more severe symptoms.”
“Depending on the area where it affects, it can impair movement, touch sensitivity, difficulty in reasoning and even seizures”, he added.
Professor Helena highlighted that the prevention of the disease is vaccination. Since the mid-1970s, an immunizing agent has been available, however the rates have been decreasing year after year.
“What worries us is that there is a vaccine to fight meningitis. However, we see that populations have been vaccinated less, which leaves room for its spread”, she argued.
This discourse is reinforced by the State Health Department (SES). To the Portal 6, the folder highlighted that the application of immunizing agents is the main strategy adopted to combat the disease.
“Epidemiological surveillance also blocks family members and close contacts in confirmed cases,” he added.
The SES said that there were 110 confirmed cases of meningitis and ten deaths in Goiás in 2021. In 2022, the latest data indicate that there were 12 confirmed cases and four deaths from the disease.