The Lagos state government has warned residents that the new strain of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) is dangerous and life-threatening.
According to Jide Idris, health commissioner, the spread of the disease is caused by a new strain of CSM causative agent, known as neisseria meningitides type C.
Idris said the new strain is slightly different from the causative agent of the seasonal CSM and that it affects the thin layers of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord of an infected person.
The commissioner said CSM spreads through discharges or droplets from nose and throat of an infected person, through kissing, sneezing and coughing especially amongst people in close quarters, hotels, refugee camp, barracks, public transportation and areas with poor ventilation or overcrowded places.
Symptoms of the disease include high body temperature, pain and stiffness of the neck, headache, vomiting, restlessness and confusion.
Although seasonal meningitis outbreak usually affects mainly the northern states, it could spread to Lagos as a result of climate change and high human migration, the commissioner said.
“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 traveling to areas where Meningitis outbreaks have been reported,” he said.
The health commissioner said the state government had put in place necessary measures to prevent the outbreak of CSM in Lagos, noting that there’s been no recorded cases thus far.
He advised health workers to avoid close contact with suspected and probable cases of CSM based on the case description, 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.
The commissioner urged residents to maintain high standards of personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measure against the disease. Such measures, he said, should include washing of hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding direct contact with the discharges from an infected person and covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
He asked the public to report suspected cases to the nearest public health facility or contact disease surveillance officers of the ministry of health on the following numbers: 08037170614, 09087106072, 08023169485, 08052817243, 08026441681.