Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, has said that the alleged death of two persons from Cerebro Spinal Meningitis in the state is untrue.
The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) had on Friday, April 7, 2017 released statistics which claimed that meningitis killed two people in the state.
The statistics also indicated that three cases were recorded in the state so far.
A statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Adeola Salako, on Sunday, April 9, 2017 quoted the commissioner as saying that the report was false and capable of causing undue panic.
Idris was quoted as saying: “The report carried by some newspapers and online platforms is untrue and does not represent the reality of the situation in Lagos State as at today.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are two main types of meningitis.
“The epidemic prone meningitis, which is referred to as Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM), is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria Meningitides.
“Its occurrence is seasonal or cyclical, depending on the level of herd immunity and climatic conditions.
“The second type of meningitis is Non-Epidemic Meningitis, which is usually caused by a virus or other bacteria, but not by Neisseria Meningitides.
“The Non-epidemic meningitis occurs without any seasonal pattern or periodicity.”
The commissioner said a Disease Surveillance Notification Officer in the Lagos Island Local Government had sometime in March reported nine suspected cases of meningitis from Massey Street Children Hospital with two deaths.
He said, however, that none of these was confirmed as due to CSM.
Idris added: “Although, all the nine cases presented with clinical features of meningitis at that hospital, laboratory tests proved that they were either due to Haemophilus influenza or Streptococcus pneumoniae and not Neisseria meningitides.
“The ministry was also notified last week of a three-year-old boy, presenting clinically as meningitis at a registered private facility in Lagos, but the laboratory investigations did not confirm CSM.
“The blood culture yielded no growth but the urine culture yielded Klebsiella and not meningococcus; the patient is already responding to treatment.
“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.”
Idris urged the public to observe a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measure against the outbreak of the disease.
He said such hygiene measures should include washing of hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.
He said: “Also, avoid direct contact with the discharges from an infected person and covering of mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
“It is strongly advised that people should avoid overcrowding in living quarters, provide cross ventilation in sleeping and work-rooms and other places where many people come together.
“People should get vaccinated with CSM vaccine when they travel to areas where meningitis outbreaks have been reported.”
Idris said people should support the government efforts in its resolve to prevent the spread of the epidemic to the state.
Such support, he said, should include reporting suspected cases to the nearest public health facility.
“There is no need to panic; we will continue with our surveillance activities, constantly review our records and brief the public from time to time,” Idris added.
The NCDC also revealed that the death toll nationwide has increased to 438, and that 19 states have been affected.
According to a statistics on the death toll from the NCDC, Zamfara State tops the list of those with highest number of deaths since the disease broke out in Nigeria.
The statistics further revealed that the number of suspected cases three days ago has risen from 2,997 to 3,959.
The agency in a statement by its spokesman, Lawal Bakare, explained that the increase in number of cases was due to intensified case-finding going on in the affected states.
The NCDC said of the three cases recorded in Lagos State, two have died, while the other was still under monitoring.
According to the agency, as at April 5, a total of 3,959 cases with 438 deaths have been reported and 181 laboratory confirmed cases.
The statement by Bakare added: “Meningitis outbreaks are currently reported in 19 States with five States mostly affected (Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto in the North-West zone and Niger in the North-Central zone of Nigeria).”
The NCDC said in order to tackle the scourge, a reactive vaccination campaign has commenced in Zamfara State, with massive turnout in all the targeted communities.
It said a joint team of NCDC, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and partners have stormed Zamfara State to provide medical care for the residents.