‘Don’t panic’ over meningitis

2013-03-31 15:29


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Johannesburg - The National Institute for communicable Diseases says there is no need to panic, despite one confirmed and one suspected case of meningitis making headlines in the past few days.

Springbok and Stormers star Schalk Burger was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis a few days ago.

Fiona de Souza, spokesperson for the Burger family, said Burger would remain in hospital for the next 14 days.

He was reported to have contracted the bacteria after undergoing surgery to reduce pressure on a nerve that was inhibiting the performance of his calf muscle.

Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

It was reported on Saturday that a 14-year-old rugby player in Durban had collapsed during the week at a rugby match.

He was rushed to hospital and later died.

It is suspected that he had a strain of meningitis and everyone who came into contact with the young, promising rugby star has been medicated.

In cases of bacterial meningitis, bacteria invade the bloodstream and then move to infect the membranes surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord.


The institute said there were three types of bacterial meningitis prevalent in South Africa.

They are pneumococcal meningitis or streptococcus meningitis, haemophilus influenza meningitis and neisseria meningitis.

The first two are common in babies because their immune systems are still weak.

The World Health Organisation lists a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting as the main symptoms of bacterial meningitis.

The disease is potentially fatal and can be caused by several types of bacteria that first cause an upper respiratory tract infection.

The institute and the department of health closely monitor reported meningitis cases.


Read more on:    schalk burger  |  johannesburg  |  health

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