Meningococcemia scare

DAVAO. The health sector together with the City Government of Davao reminds Dabawenyos to stay calm and not to panic amidst the reported Meningococcemia case on a young boy in Davao City over the week. The government also reminds the netizens to refrain from sharing unconfirmed information that may cause panic to the public. (Photo by Macky Lim)

THE Department of Health (DOH)-Davao is investigating the death of a four-year-old boy on Friday, August 30, from a suspected case of meningococcemia.

But the health department emphasized that the case is still unconfirmed contrary to the rumors circulating online.

Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries, Inc. also denied the reports, saying there is “no meningococcemia outbreak”.

“The patient was a suspected case who exhibited signs and symptoms similar with the case definition of the disease,” Brokenshire said in an official statement posted on their official Facebook account on Saturday, August 31.

The hospital said the collected specimen from the patient was sent out for confirmation.

“The ER (emergency room) and the hospital has been cleared by the Infection Control Committee and is now safe and operating normally as usual,” Brokenshire added.

DOH, meanwhile, said Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) was given to close contacts of the patient, including the family members, pupils from the pre-school where the deceased child was studying, and emergency room staff who closely attended to the patient.

DOH said they are closely monitoring these people for any signs and symptoms including fever, vomiting, body rashes, and loose bowel movement.

“A team from the Department will visit and monitor the school to assist the teachers in proper information dissemination to the parents and ensure that everyone closely exposed to the deceased child will be given PEP.

Leap of Faith Learning Center, Inc. (LOFLC), the school where the deceased patient was enrolled, said they will cooperate with DOH and the Davao City Health Office (CHO).

LOFLC also reminded its students, parents, and other school personnel to seek medical consultation “as soon as possible due to this medical emergency”.

What is meningococcemia?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), meningococcemia is a rare infection caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. This is the same type of bacteria that can cause meningitis.

WHO said the bacteria that cause meningococcemia can live harmlessly in your upper respiratory tract. Simply being exposed to this germ isn’t enough to cause disease. They also said up to 10 percent of people may carry these bacteria. Less than 1 percent of those carriers become sick.

However, CHO technical division chief Dr. Julinda Acosta said meningococcemia’s transmission is through droplet, and not airborne.

“Kadtong close contact like family members nga nag care while sick ang patient will take the prophylaxis. Suspected Meningococcemia pa man, we still have to validate it. (Those who had close contact like family members who took care of the sick patient will have to take prophylaxis,” Acosta said in a text message.

DOH, meanwhile, said direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat of the infected person might put someone else at risk. They also said it can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, kissing, sharing of food, drinks, and utensils.

CHO, in an official statement posted on August 31, urged Dabawenyos to keep calm, be cautious, and refrain from spreading unnecessary information especially online. (With reports from Lyka Amethyst H. Casamayor)


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