Contrary to media reports quoting the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that the raging cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) has claimed lives of three children in Lagos, government has refuted the news saying “the report is untrue and does not represent the reality of the situation in Lagos State as at today (Sunday).”
Commissioner for Health Dr Jide Idris had at the review meeting with the State Disease Surveillance and Notification team denied the news which was carried largely by many Newspapers and online publications from the weekly update of activities of the NCDC.
But the Commisssioner in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations in the Ministry Adeola Salako was quoted as saying, “the report is false and is capable of causing undue panic among the citizenry”.
He noted that though the Disease Surveillance Notification Officer, Lagos Island Local Government had reported nine suspected cases of meningitis from Massey Street Children Hospital in Week 13 of this year with two deaths, “none of these was confirmed as due to the causative agent of CSM”.
According to Idris, albeit the nine cases presented with clinical features of meningitis at the said hospital, “but laboratory tests proved that they were either due to Haemophilus influenza (a type of bacteria that mainly causes illness in babies and young children and which can also cause infections in people of all ages ranging from mild, such as an ear infection, to severe, such as a bloodstream infection-CDC) or Streptococcus pneumoniae ( the main cause of community acquired pneumonia and meningitis in children and the elderly and of septicemia in those infected with HIV. The organism also causes many types of pneumococcal infections other than pneumonia such invasive pneumococcal diseases include bronchitis, rhinitis, acute sinusitis, otitis media, conjunctivitis, meningitis, sepsis, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, peritonitis, pericarditis, cellulitis, and brain abscess-Wikipedia); and not Neisseria meningitidis (often referred to as meningococcus, a Gram-negative bacterium that can cause meningitis and other forms of meningococcal disease which is contagious-Wikipedia)”.
The Health Commissioner also disclosed that the laboratory report of a three year old who presented clinically as meningitis at a registered private facility in Lagos did not confirm CSM. According to him ” the blood culture yielded no growth but the urine culture yielded Klebsiella (a type of Gram-negative bacteria that can cause different types of healthcare-associated infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis); and not meningococcus (contagious meningitis). The patient is already is responding to treatment”, said Idris.
Idris however clarified, “For the avoidance of doubt, there are two main types of meningitis. The epidemic prone meningitis which is referred to as Cerebro-spinal meningitis (CSM) which is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria Meningitidis and its occurrence is seasonal or cyclical depending on the level of herd immunty and climatic conditions.
“The second type of meningitis is Non Epidemic Meningitis. This type of meningitis is usually caused by a virus or other bacteria, but not by Neisseria Meningitidis. The Non-epidemic meningitis occurs without any seasonal pattern or periodicity”, explained Dr Idris.
He added, “none of these cases presented with a history of recent travel to any area with an outbreak of meningitis and neither were visits from such areas recorded with the aforementioned cases”.
The Commissioner however urged residence of the State to continually observe a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measure against the outbreak of the disease noting that such hygiene measures should include washing of hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly, avoiding direct contact with the discharges from an infected person and covering of mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.