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Meningococcemia cases climb to 169 – DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 169 cases of meningococcemia so far this year, a four-percent increase from the 162 cases recorded in the same period in 2018, the agency’s epidemiology bureau head told Balitanghali on Sunday.

In an interview with Mark Salazar, DOH Epidemiology Bureau OIC Dr. Ferchito Avelino said authorities immediately sought out all the people meningococcemia victims had close contact with and administered preventive or antibiotic prophylaxis to arrest the virus' spread.

According to Avelino, studies found that five out of 10 meningococcemia cases end in death if not treated immediately. The number of deaths can fall to around eight to 13 percent if patients are treated.

“But then again the fact remains na talagang may mamamatay pa rin. So importante talaga ‘yung maagap na pagpapatingin sa ating mga health center at ‘yung preventive measures,” he emphasized.

While there was a vaccine for meningococcemia, it was not currently being offered by the government in its routine vaccinations.

Meanwhile, a 3-year-old boy died within 24 hours of confinement at the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City because of meningococcemia.

According to the hospital, the patient was brought in on September 28 because of violet rashes all over his body.

A number of other patients have tested positive for meningococcemia in the same hospital as well.

In Paete, Laguna, a 7-year-old is currently confined at the San Lazaro Hospital after testing positive for the same illness.

Authorities are reaching out to the patient’s relatives in order to take the necessary preventive measures.

Avelino appealed to the public to get themselves checked immediately if they were feeling unwell.

“Kapag po hindi maganda ang ating pakiramdam ay mas maigi po na mas maaga magpatingin sa ating mga doktor at bigyan natin po ng kumpletong history… bago tayo nagkasakit para ang doktor po ay guided din kung ano maaaring ibigay sating gamot at examination,” he said. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News