Doctors downplay Cape Town meningitis fears

2013-09-27 20:46
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Cape Town - Rumours of bacterial meningitis deaths in various Cape Town suburbs have been refuted by doctors in the province.

Parents from Sun Valley have been phoning local doctors in a panic after it was rumoured that an 8-year-old boy died on Wednesday from bacterial meningitis.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by either bacterial or viral infection.

In a post on its blog on Friday, Sun Valley Group of Schools principal Gavin Keller said that Simon Waldall died from Group B streptococcal infection.

Mediclinic Southern Africa stated that the 8-year-old didn't die of bacterial meningitis.

Rumours that a 4-year-old from nearby Kommetjie died from the disease have also been found to be untrue.

The Western Cape health department said a diagnosis of streptococcus pyogenic meningitis had been made for one of the two boys.

This type of meningitis does not spread and does not have the same public health implications and response as meningococcal disease which is the most easily spread and fatal of the bacterial meningitis.

“A total of 37 meningococcal diseases cases [clinical and/or laboratory confirmed] were notified to the local health authorities. It has not been clustered in one specific area,” the department’s Faiza Steyn told News24.

It's also been rumoured that a Sacs pupil also died from the disease but this was unconfirmed.

Keller said parents of children who were in contact with Simon should get an antibiotic such Amoxill. Or an alternative if they are allergic to penicillin.
 
Meningococcal diseases occurs throughout the year, but the incidence is highest in the late winter and early spring, said Steyn.


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