By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, Mr Jide Idris, has debunked reports that the outbreak of meningitis in the country has claimed the lives of two persons in the state.
A statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs in the Ministry of Health, Mrs Adeola Salako, quoted the Commissioner as denying the reports, which was carried by several news media, excluding Business Post.
Mr Idris described the reports as false and capable of causing undue panic in the state.
“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 explained.
On April 7, 2017, the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control released statistics claiming that CRM killed two people in Lagos State. The statistics also indicated that three cases were recorded in the state so far.
But the Commissioner said that 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.
“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,” he said.
Mr Idris has appealed to the public to observe a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measure against the outbreak of the disease.
He said that such hygiene measures should include washing of hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly. He therefore called for calm.
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