TACLOBAN City–The news that an eight-year-old child from Capoocan, Leyte died at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) recently, allegedly suspected to be due to Meningococcemia, is an eye opener not only to health service providers but to everyone to continue to inform the people about the dreaded disease to prevent the people from being scared.
Neisseria Meningitides is the bacteria that cause Meningococcemia.
According to the Department of Health, Neisseria Meningitides lives in 10 percent of ordinary people. It actually stays in the person’s throat but does not cause an ailment. It is only when the person has a low body resistance that these bacteria can cause sickness.
These bacteria can cause 3 kinds of diseases. The first one is when the infection spreads in the person’s brain or what is commonly known as meningitis. The second one is when the Neisseria Meningitides bacteria move into the bloodstream and spread through the whole body. This is called the Meningococcemia. The third one, Fulminant Meningococcemia, is the worst kind since it can cause death.
The very first symptom of Meningococcemia is high fever. The temperature of a sick person could be 38 degrees or higher. Within 24 to 48 hours, it is followed by a spread of rashes usually on legs and trunk. In some cases, a person may have signs of meningitis such as stiff neck, convulsion, delirium, altered mental status and vomiting.
The public must know that Meningococcemia is easy to terminate. Doctors prescribe patients with an affordable medicine, Penicillin. The earlier the disease is detected, the easier it is to terminate. Within 24 hours after the detection of the disease, the patient could be given something for relief of cure.
Meningococcemia patients can be given medicines unlike Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) or Bird Flu patients. Sars and Bird Flu are both viral infections; therefore, no medicines can be given to patients.
But, as the adage goes “prevention is better than cure.” Learning what meningococcemia is and how it is acquired and transmitted is not enough.
It is better for the public to know how to protect themselves or the children from such disease. It is very important to keep high body resistance. One should eat nutritious food, like fruits and vegetables, take enough sleep and rest and have regular exercise. Proper hygiene and sanitation is also very important. Taking vitamins and food supplements are also helpful in keeping oneself healthy. While it is important to keep your bodies clean, it is also of great importance to keep your environment clean.
Meningococcemia can be transmitted through droplets’ infection through the air, which should also be very, very near. One should be very close to sick patient, as in 2 feet or 1 meter away, for him to acquire meningococcemia.
Getting in contact with the secretions of the sick patient, like the saliva, can also transmit the bacteria. The bacteria can also spread from a sick patient to another individual through coughing, sneezing and kissing. People should not share those things that are in contact with the mouth as it may transmit the bacteria from one person to another.
The most common misconception about meningococcemia is that people think Meninococcemia is a new ailment like SARS or Bird Flu, which frightened everyone.
This disease has been here in the Philippines even before.
Meningococcemia is an old infection which has been given new attention. It is just like an ordinary disease like rabies or tetanus, which has long been present in the surroundings. This disease only attacks when people do not take care of themselves. Some carriers of these bacteria do not get sick because they have high body resistance and their bodies have already developed anti-bodies against Meningococcemia. People don’t acquire meningococcemia just by passing by or even when they are in the same room with a suspected patient.
Another wrong concept about these bacteria is that clothes brought from ukay-ukay can be carriers of the bacteria. Specialists said that the bacteria could not survive outside the human body because Meningococcus does not thrive on inanimate objects like clothes.
Enough information is needed in order to fully understand what Meningococcemia is. Knowing its symptoms can help detect if any of the family members have the disease. There is no reason for the people to panic if they know what the disease is and the ways in order to prevent it. A report from the Philippine Information Agency