The Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency has advised the people to beware of meningitis and watch against symptoms like high body temperature, irritability, headaches, photophobia, convulsion and coma.

The Social Mobilisation Officer, Dr Dupe Shittu, gave the warning on Tuesday in Ilorin in an interview with newsmen at the Kwara Ministry of Health.

She noted that meningitis is curable if prompt intervention is sought in health facilities, adding that parents should take their children to hospitals early for diagnosis because the treatment is more successful if detected early. The medical doctor described meningococcal disease as an epidemic infectious disease highly influenced by climatic factors.

“Climate plays an important role in both the spatial distribution of the disease and in the seasonality of meningitis. “Some predisposing factors are upper respiratory problems, abnormal posturing, aching at the back, stiffness of the neck, poor feeding, bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanel) and stiffness in a baby’s body and neck, among others,” she said.

Shittu advised Nigerians to live in ventilated environments during hot season as the disease is seasonal and common during the hot dry season. “Ventilation is important; keeping the environment clean is very important and prompt visit to the hospital to access the facilities being provided like vaccination which is ongoing.

“People should avail themselves of the ongoing opportunity to prevent meningitis.

“There are some people who are healthy carriers of the disease, they spread it, they look healthy, but they do not know they have it,’’ she explained.

She said though research has proven that everybody is at risk of the disease, considering their environment, the illness is most common in people aged one to 29.