Meningitis outbreak in Nelspruit

2011-02-23 12:41

There is a viral meningitis outbreak in the Nelspruit area, the Mpumalanga health department said today.

A total of 15 patients, including children, had tested positive for the virus, spokesperson Mpho Gabashane said.

He said the department was alerted by MediClinic, two weeks ago, after 10 patients had been screened.

Only five of them were confirmed positive for viral meningitis.

“The department then dispatched its surveillance teams to reported areas and began the line list,” said Gabashane.

“Ten more children tested positive for viral meningitis. They were seen by paediatrician in the area on Tuesday.”

The provincial and district disease outbreak response teams were activated and had already put a number interventions in place, he said.

“Health promotion teams are visiting identified areas and schools to begin with health education focusing on hand washing and the communicable disease control continues to work on the line list to determine the extent of the outbreak.”

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) had deployed officials to support the intervention team, Gabashane said.

He said the outbreak was likely to be due to an enterovirus [bacteria that causes meningitis] circulating in the community.

“Enterovirus has been detected in a number of specimens from ill patients sent to the NICD so far, and testing of further specimens received from patients hospitalised in the private sector is ongoing.”

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