ABOUT four young lives have so far been claimed by a disease which attacks a village in East Makira.
Reports reaching the Solomon Star said Ghoge village has been struck by the disease since last week which caused panic to other nearby communities in the province as news of the death begun trickling in.
Speaking in an interview last night with the supervising provincial health director and the medical officer in charge of Kira-Kira hospital Dr Arnold Ngudumae, he said so far four lives have been claimed by the disease.
He said the disease has features of meningococcal disease which can be fatal to young children if no immediate attention and treatment is taken.
He said with no medical labs in Kira Kira its hard to confirm the disease.
However he said with the presence of one of the country’s top paediatrician (children’s doctor) in Kira Kira Dr James Auto who is in Kira Kira to conduct a training, his team was able to get his (Dr Auto) views and advice on disease.
Dr Ngudumae downplayed reports suggesting that more than ten deaths have been recorded so far.
He said from reports he received from the villagers, two young children have died on Thursday and Friday at the village as a result of the disease.
And then on Saturday and Sunday two boys aged 11 years old from the same village died at the Kira Kira hospital after being admitted very late.
Following the deaths, the villagers have been advised to look out for signs and symptoms of the disease.
The disease featured ‘star-like’ rash, stomach-ache, vomiting, headache and body getting weak.
He said the news of the disease has caused panic with most of the people in Ghoge village arriving in numbers at the hospital to seek medical attention and treatment.
Dr Ngudumae said most of the patients have to be screened before being admitted at the hospital in a ward specifically allocated for the patients developing signs of the disease.
Those with little signs were discharged with medication and advice not to get in contact with any infected person.
As of last night about ten patients are still being admitted at the hospital under close medical observation.
He said his team is doing all it can with the limited resources they have to look after the sick patients.
Only two doctors are currently serving in Kira Kira hospital.
The medical official said in light of the situation, a medical team from Kira Kira hospital has been dispatched to investigate the disease at Ghoghe village which is located further inland up on the mountains.
The team is expected to spend few days there providing medication and conducting awareness to the people in that region.
Surrounding communities will also be visited during the visit, he added.
Dr Ngudumae said as of Sunday he was trying to arrange a disease surveillance team from Honiara to travel across to Kira Kira to assess the situation.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been in touch with Dr Ngudumae after learning about the presence of the disease in the province.
The medical officer said its important that the public in Kira Kira and the surrounding villages must listen to advice and take extra care by avoiding getting in contact with an infected person.
Following the outbreak of the disease reports reaching the paper said movement in and around Kira Kira especially close to the hospital has been reduced.
The ministry of health has been called up to address the situation before it spreads to other islands.
About the disease
According to Wikipedia; Meningococcal disease is described as infections caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also termed meningococcus). It carries a high mortality rate if untreated. While best known as a cause of meningitis, widespread blood infection (sepsis) is more damaging and dangerous. Meningitis and meningococcemia are major causes of illness, death, and disability in both developed and under developed countries worldwide.
While the disease is not as contagious as the common cold (which is spread through casual contact), it can be transmitted through saliva and occasionally through close, prolonged general contact with an infected person.
In the case of meningitis, bacteria attack the lining between the brain and skull called the meninges. Infected fluid from the meninges then passes into the spinal cord, causing symptoms including stiff neck, fever and rashes. The meninges (and sometimes the brain itself) begin to swell, which affects the central nervous system.