Following Federal Government’s directive to states to mobilise their health workers against possible outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, in the country, the Lagos State Government has enjoined Lagosians to report any suspected case to the nearest public health facility.
The Federal Ministry of Health had in its alert message by its Chief Consultant Epidemologist, Dr. A. Oyemakinde, described CSM as “a major epidemic prone-disease which poses a serious public health problems in the country.” However, no case of CSM has been reported in Lagos yet.
In a statement, yesterday, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, explained that the alert was to notify the public to the seasonal occurrence of the disease and the need for the residents to protect themselves against it.
Idris said: “CSM is a dangerous and a 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.”
He explained that, “Though, Meningitis belt covers mostly the northern part of the country; however, in view of the phenomenal climatic change as well as the high human migration, it is not impossible that outbreaks can occur in any part of the country, Lagos inclusive.”
He noted that 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 through kissing, sneezing and coughing, especially among people living in close quarters, hotels, refugee camp,etc.
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 treated promptly.
Idris further stressed 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 traveling to areas where Meningitis outbreaks have been reported”, he added