The attention of the Lagos State Ministry of Health has been drawn to some media reports alleging that two deaths attributed to meningitis have been recorded in Lagos state. The Honorable Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, speaking while reviewing the activities of the state government with regards to curtailing and controlling the spread of the meningitis epidemic said that the report is false and is capable of causing undue panic among the citizenry .
“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”, he said.
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) 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 .
Idris also disclosed that though the Disease Surveillance Notification Officer, Lagos Island Local Govt 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. He further revealed that though all 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 or Streptococcus pneumoniae and not Neisseria meningitidis.
Idris, in addition, said that the Ministry of Health 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. According to him ” the blood culture yielded no growth but the urine culture yielded Klebsiella and not meningococcus. The patient is already is responding to treatment”
He went on to affirm that “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 seized the opportunity to reiterate the Lagos State government’s firm resolve to prevent and control the spread of the epidemic to the state. He then urged the people of the state to support governmental effort by reporting suspected cases to the nearest public
health facility or call the following lines 08037170614, 08023169485.
The Commissioner also underscored the need for the observance of 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.
“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 have already been placed on red alert on the disease and surveillance teams consisting of epidemiologists are also intensifying their surveillance and monitoring activities.
“Health workers are also advised to avoid close and prolonged contacts with suspected and probable cases of CSM, ensure proper disposal of respiratory and throat secretions of cases, report suspected or probable cases and observe universal precaution and make use of personal protective equipment when in contact with such cases”.
“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”, he added.