Lagos State Ministry of Health today, Monday, said that contrary to the report by Federal Government (FG) at the weekend that the deadly cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) has spread to Lagos, it has not recorded any known case.
In a statement issued by the Commissioner Dr Jide Idris and signed by Director Public Relations, Adeola Salako, government he said is very much aware of the new strain of CSM causative agent, Neisseria Meningitides type C, which is slightly different from the known causative agent of the seasonal CSM.
He noted that since the outbreak of the disease in the country, the state had placed all its health officials especially health workers in the hospitals, the Epidemiology team and the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) in all the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas on high alert as well as intensify its disease surveillance and monitoring activities.
“Health workers are also advised to avoid close contact with suspected and probable cases of CSM based on the case definition distributed, ensure proper disposal of respiratory and throats secretions of cases, report suspected or probable cases, observe universal safety precautionary measures and make use of personal protective equipment when in contact with such cases as highlighted in the Fact-Sheets earlier forwarded to them” the Commissioner advised.
He explained that meningitis is a dangerous and a life threatening disease that affects the thin layers of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord of an infected human person and it is caused by bacteria.
According to Dr Idris, “CSM is an epidemic prone disease that spreads from person to person through contact with discharges or droplets from nose and throat of an infected person.
“It can also be transmitted through kissing, sneezing and coughing especially amongst people living in close quarters, hotels, refugee camp, barracks, public transportation and areas with poor ventilation or overcrowded places”, said Idris.
The Commissioner noted that though, seasonal Meningitis outbreak usually affects mainly Northern States that fall within the meningitis belt of the country, it is not impossible that outbreaks can occur in any part of the country including Lagos due to climatic change as well as the high human migration.
He pointed out that the disease usually presents with high body temperature, pain and stiffness of the neck, headache, vomiting, fear of light, restlessness and confusion adding that death may occur if not promptly and properly managed.
He therefore emphasized the need for the observance of high standards of personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measures against the disease such as washing of hands with soap and water frequently; avoiding direct contact with the discharges from an infected person and covering of the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
“It is strongly advised for people to avoid overcrowding in living quarters, provide cross ventilation in sleeping and work-rooms and other places where many people come together and get vaccinated with CSM vaccine when you are travelling to areas where Meningitis outbreaks have been reported”, he added.
The Commissioner advised residence of the State to remain calm and report suspected cases to the nearest public health facility or contact Disease Surveillance Officers of the Ministry of Heath on the following GSM numbers: 08037170614, 09087106072, 08023169485, 08052817243, 08026441681.