The Lagos State Government has alerted members of the public on recorded cases of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) in some states in the country and the need to report suspected case to the nearest public health facility.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said the spread is caused by a new strain of CSM causative agent, known as Neisseria Meningitides type C, which is slightly different from the causative agent of the seasonal CSM and that the disease is a dangerous and a life threatening one because it affects the thin layers of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord of an infected person.
He further explained that Cerebrospinal Meningitis 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 in close quarters, hotels, refugee camp, barracks, public transportation and areas with poor ventilation or overcrowded places.
The Commissioner noted that though seasonal Meningitis outbreak usually affects mainly the Northern States that fall within the meningitis prone belt of the country, it is not impossible that outbreaks can occur in other parts of the country, Lagos inclusive, in view of the phenomenal climatic change as well as the high human migration.
He, however, maintained that no case of CSM has been recorded in Lagos State contrary to what has been published, adding that, “But as a responsive government, we deem it fit to alert the public on the inherent danger of the disease”.
Dr. Idris explained that the symptoms of the disease include high body temperature, pain and stiffness of the neck, headache, vomiting, restlessness and confusion, stressing that it may result in the death of the victim if not promptly and properly managed.
The Commissioner, therefore, emphasized the need for the observance of high standards of personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measure against the disease. He also noted that such measures should include washing of hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding direct contact with the discharges from an infected person and covering 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 traveling to areas where Meningitis outbreaks have been reported”, he added.
Dr. Idris noted that health workers in the State, the State Epidemiology team and the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) in all the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas have been placed on high alert in order to intensify the disease surveillance and monitoring activities.
He said the health workers are also advised to avoid close contact with suspected and probable cases of CSM based on the case description, 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.
While urging residents to take responsibility for their health and report cases of the symptoms aforementioned to the nearest public health facility or the Ministry of Health, the Commissioner stated that the State Government had put in place all the necessary measures towards prevention of outbreak of CSM in Lagos State.
Dr. Jide Idris, therefore, advised the general public to remain calm and report suspected cases to the nearest public health facility or contact Disease Surveillance Officers of the Ministry of Health on the following numbers 08037170614, 09087106072, 08023169485, 08052817243, 08026441681.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 43,694 residents from five Local Government and eight Local Council Development Areas comprising Ojo, Oto-Awori, Iba, Badagry, Badagry-West, Olorunda, Oshodi, Isolo, Ejigbo, Amuwo-Odofin, Oriade, Ajeromi and Ifelodun have benefitted from the on-going Lagos Health Mission programme; a medical intervention sponsored by the State government to provide free healthcare services to residents of Lagos across the 20 Local Governments areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State.