Meningitis fatality rate is often high
The municipal Department of Health confirmed the news at a press conference on February 21.
Nguyen Nhat Cam, Deputy Director of the municipal Centre of Preventive Medicine, said meningitis is not a new disease as the city records around 10 patient deaths from the disease a year.
“Even though the disease just plagues individuals, instead of developing into epidemics; the fatality rate is often high. Last year, two of three meningitis patients died of the disease,” Cam noted.
According to him, the city reported four new meningitis patients since the beginning of this year, mainly in Hai Ba Trung, Me Linh, Hoai Duc and Ha Dong districts.
The centre has tightened oversight in order to heighten people’s awareness of the disease prevention since the latest outbreak, he added.
As of January 31, the Preventive Health Department under the Health Ministry reported that meningitis had spread in five provinces and cities in Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Long An, Binh Phuoc and Quang Tri.
The department said, between 2001 and 2011, the country had reported an average 650 meningitis patients per year, mainly in the northern region.
The number of meningitis patients has gradually decreased since 2006 to only 305 with four fatalities in 2011, the department noted.
Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection that affects the brain membrane. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 percent of cases if untreated, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The bacteria can be carried in the throat and sometimes, for reasons not fully understood, can overwhelm the body's defences, allowing infection to spread through the bloodstream to the brain, the WHO said.
Anybody who develops such symptoms as a sudden high fever, stiff neck, and excessive sensitivity to light should go to the hospital for examination and treatment.