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MENINGOCOCCAL Vaccine Nurses Visit Schools To Immunise Students

MENINGOCOCCAL Vaccine Nurses Visit Schools To Immunise Students
St Mary’s Primary School students in Labasa after receiving their meningococcal injection on July 24, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
July 25
12:42 2018

Six teams of nurses are visiting schools in Macuata province in Vanua Levu to protect every child and adolescent against meningococcal disease.

Acting sub-divisional medical officer Rachel Devi said the teams started their vaccination campaign with the immunisation of students around the schools in the Northern Division.

“Children will be vaccinated at their primary or secondary schools and kindergartens,” she said.

“Those children who miss the vaccination at schools are required to go to their nearest health facility where  a dedicated team will provide the vaccination.”

Dr Devi said the vaccination was just one part of the strategy to combat the outbreak.

The other component of the prevention strategies continued throughout the outbreak through enhanced surveillance and early detection and treatment as well.

“Only vaccines for meningococcal will be effective in preventing you from getting meningococcal,” she said.

“This includes the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, brands include: Neisvac, Menitorix and the quadrivalent conjugate vaccine brands include Menactra, Menveo, Nimenrix.”

For older children and adults common symptoms include sudden fever, vomiting, headache and stiff neck or backache.

For babies, symptoms generally include fever, neck stiffness, and irritability, drowsiness, vomiting, not feeding properly or having a lack of muscle tone.

“If detected early, most cases of meningococcal disease can be treated. This is why it is important that everyone knows the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and seek urgent medical advice at their nearest health facility if they suspect they have disease,” Dr Devi said.

She said anyone can get the disease. People can also protect themselves from the disease by practicing good hygiene.

This includes covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing and sneezing; disposing of tissues in the bin after coughing or sneezing; and washing hands regularly with soap and water, or hand sanitise.

Parents, guardian and members of the community at large have been urged to make good use of this opportunity.

The vaccination campaign against meningococcal disease for school children and adolescents in the Macuata Division started on Monday.

The campaign aims to vaccinate up to 70,000 children and adolescents against the deadly disease.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services declared an outbreak of the meningococcal disease in the late March.

Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening disease which usually causes meningitis, inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and septicaemia (blood poisoning).

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services confirmed that there were 58 reported cases of meningococcal from January 1 to April 22 this year. Two were from the Northern Division.

Edited by Percy Kean

nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

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