Meningococcal disease kills eight children in Mandalay Region

NEISSERIA meningitis, a serious and potentially life-threatening infection has claimed lives of eight children in Mandalay as of Wednesday, with another child suspected of developing the infection under surveillance in Patheingyi Township, according to an official from the Mandalay Region Public Health Department.
Cases have been reported since 5 March in six villages in Thasi Township, said Dr Win Naing, head of the department, adding that a patient in Meiktila Township was detected as having Neisseria meningitis type A bacteria, one of the five types that cause meningococcal disease.
“The disease is commonly found in dry zones. The recent outbreaks are of the vaccine-preventable Type B variety which have occurred in dusty villages of the township”, said Dr Win Naing, calling for greater care to be given in regard to personal hygiene and staying away from dusty spaces.
“Those suspected of having the infectious disease are undergoing special treatment in addition to laboratory tests.”
Medical staff are currently making field trips to the villages with suspected patients being removed to nearby hospitals for special treatment. Blood tests are being taken from infected patients and their family members, said the department.
According to figures, 14 cases were reported in six villages. Eight people have died of the disease in Mandalay since 1992. An outbreak in 2001 claimed one life while a further outbreak in 2002 claimed seven.
Since 2000, meningococcal outbreaks have sporadically cropped up in Myanmar causing 34 deaths in 391 cases nation wide. 11 among 25 total infected died in 2001 while 22 among 53 infected died in 2002.

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