Mon, 23 January 2017
Last Updated: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 9am
Solomon Star
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New threat

Public warned of deadly meningococcal meningitis disease

Members of the public are being urged to seek medical help as early as possible, especially in the case of high fever.

Health authorities issued the warning after two children passed away over the weekend.

The two, a brother and sister from Malaita, experienced fever and rash before their deaths.

"Judging from the symptoms, we suspect their deaths were caused by Meningococcal septicaemia," Chief executive officer of the National Referral hospital Dr Steve Aumanu said on Thursday.

"We are taking the cases seriously," Dr Aumanu stated.

"Close family members of the deceased patients have been given chemoprophylaxis to prevent any infections and stop the possible spread of the disease," he added.

"Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia are caused by bacteria that lining around the brain and spinal cord.

"The bacteria are transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of saliva or spit.

"The disease is spread through close contact with someone who has the bacteria, such kissing, sneezing or coughing, sharing cutlery or cups and living in overcrowded places.

"The most comon symptoms are a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomitting."

Dr Aumanu said the disease is life threatening and progresses very quickly.

He urged all members of the public to seek medical care as early as possible.

"Early treatment is crucial, so don't wait," he said.

"If you or your children have a high fever or any of the other above symptoms, visit your nearest clinic straight away.

"You can protect yourself and your family against meningococcal and many other diseases by practising good hygiene.

"Be sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and avoid sharing of cups and cutlery."

The last suspected case of Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia were recorded at Atoifi hospital in East Malaita in September of last year.

Dr Chellion Evan of Atoifi hospital told the Solomon Star then that five people were diagnosed with the disease.

In July 2014, four children were reported to have died from the disease in Makira/Ulawa province.

By Stephen Diisango

 


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