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DOH assures public that there is no meningococcemia outbreak

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday allayed fears of the public over the reported cases of meningococcemia, saying that there is no outbreak of the respiratory disease in the country.

“As of the moment, there is no meningococcemia outbreak in the country as cases are sporadic in nature and are not clustering,” said Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH said that two suspected cases from Laguna and Batangas were confirmed positive for meningococcemia based on the laboratory results of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

“The Department is awaiting the laboratory confirmation of five more suspected meningococcemia cases,” said Vergeire.

From January 1 to September 21, the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau reported that there were 169 cases of meningococcemia, including 88 deaths recorded nationwide. The figure is slightly higher compared to the same period last year which was 162 cases, including 78 deaths.

The DOH said that meningococcemia is a rare, but very serious illness caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis.

Some of its signs and symptoms include cough, headache, sore throat, fever, chills, malaise, nausea, vomiting and skin rashes.

“It can quickly progress and manifest with lethargy, difficulty of breathing, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, seizures, hemorrhagic eruptions, purpuric and petechial skin lesions, and hypotension,” it added.

It is spread from person-to-person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions from coughing, kissing, or sharing of utensils.

Vergeire urged the public to immediately consult a health professional if they experience some of the said symptoms.

“Because of the severity and rapid progression of the disease, early diagnosis and immediate treatment with antibiotics are vital. I advise individuals experiencing symptoms of meningococcemia to go the nearest hospital immediately,” she said.

Vergeire also underscored that the disease is “highly preventable.”

“I urge the public to practice good personal hygiene such as regular handwashing, and covering of mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of this disease,” she said.







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