The Lagos State Government has alerted members of the public on the dangers of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis and urged them to report any suspected case to the nearest public health facility.
A new strain of CSM causative agent, Neisseria Meningitides type C, which is slightly different from the causative agent of the seasonal CSM in Nigeria, has affected no fewer than 16 states in the country.
Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris, explained that CSM is a dangerous and 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.
Idirs added that Cerebro Spinal 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 living in close quarters, hotels, refugee camp, barracks, public transportation and areas with poor ventilation or overcrowded places.
Idris noted that though seasonal, Meningitis outbreak usually affects the 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, Lagos inclusive, in view of the phenomenal climatic change as well as the high human migration.
The Commissioner added that no case of CSM has been recorded in Lagos State contrary to what has been published.
He added: “However as a responsive government, we deem it fit to alert the public.”
Idris explained that the disease usually presents with high body temperature, pain and stiffness of the neck, headache, vomiting, fear of light, restlessness and confusion stressed that death may occur 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 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.
Idris noted that health workers in the state, especially health workers in the hospitals, the State Epidemiology team and the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in all the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, have been placed on high alert and therefore the disease surveillance and monitoring activities have since been intensified.
He said: “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.”
While urging residents to take responsibility for their health and report persons with the above symptoms to the nearest public health facility or the Ministry of Health, the Commissioner stated that the state government had put in place all the above measures towards avoidance and prevention of outbreak of CSM in Lagos State.
Idris 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 Heath on the following GSM numbers: 08037170614, 09087106072, 08023169485, 08052817243, 08026441681.