NEWS

‘Antibiotics Can Prevent MenC’ Says Health Minister

Health and Medical Services Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said there was currently no outbreak of the disease in the country.
20 Aug 2019 16:26
‘Antibiotics Can Prevent MenC’ Says Health Minister

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services says administering antibiotics to patients can prevent an outbreak of the meningococcal disease.

Health and Medical Services Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said there was currently no outbreak of the disease in the country.

Dr Waqainabete was commenting on reports that three people died recently because of meningococcal (MenC).

No outbreak

He said there was no confirmation yet that all of them died of the disease.

“It’s just a cluster. People around them are just not well,” he said.

“We can only declare an outbreak of the disease based on the number of people going to the hospitals.

“But based on the numbers right now, we have no outbreak of MenC.”

Dr Waqainabete said many people die in Fiji daily from various kinds of infections and diseases.

“When you have people dying from infections more than the numbers that should be, then we can say there is an outbreak,” he said.

“Earlier this year there was a flu outbreak, which was declared because of the number of people going to hospitals.

“But we are not seeing the numbers in people going to hospitals with symptoms of meningococcal.

“So it’s not an outbreak, but just a cluster. We can prevent it from being an outbreak with antibiotics,” said Dr Waqainabete.

Meanwhile, the ministry said last night that there were six deaths during the outbreak that was declared last year.

But, in recent weeks, there have been three deaths and all are not confirmed to be from MenC.

It said a former hotel worker in Nadi, Dhirendra Kumar was the only confirmed casualty of the disease in recent weeks.

The other two deaths were yet to be confirmed as a result of MenC.

Confirmed case

It is understood that the ministry has carried out profiling of Mr Kumar’s immediate family members.

All health facilities around the country are also understood to be on alert as far as people going there with symptoms of the disease is concerned.

Symptoms of the disease include a sudden fever, nausea, eyes sensitive to light and skin rash that is red and/or purple.

Meningococcal can be spread through close contact and people should practice proper hygiene to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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