MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 2 July) – Two cases of suspected meningococcemia were reported here this week, one of them a four-year old son of an ukay-ukay (used clothing) entrepreneur. The boy died on Tuesday.
Dr. Melirose Deticio, physician at the City Health Office, told MindaNews Saturday they were unable to confirm if indeed the boy died of the highly contagious disease.
“It was not confirmed, though (we are) very suspicious that it was (meningococcemia),” she said via telephone.
She said doctors were unable to conduct a confirmatory test involving blood culture because the boy died at the emergency room after a cardiac arrest.
The City Health Office ordered an immediate burial. She said those who were also exposed to the victim were prescribed to take preventive medicine and were reported to be safe already.
The boy was reported to have complained of fever four days before. It was too late when he was brought to the Malaybalay Polymedic General Hospital.
Deticio said the CHO could not conclude if indeed the child was infected with bacteria from their family’s used clothing business.
“Although, basically, we can say (ukay-ukay) used clothing is not clean,” she added.
Another victim, a six-year-old child from Barangay Violeta, was observed to have symptoms of the disease and was brought to the same hospital.
The case, reported on Thursday, was referred right away to a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.
Deticio said it was detected earlier, although she added that as of Friday afternoon the result on the blood culture test was yet to be released.
The family and classmates of the pupil of the Linabo Elementary School were given preventive medicines, too, Deticio added.
Deticio said the cases are no cause for alarm especially if detected early because it is manageable with ordinary medicines. Local hospitals, she added, just need to have an isolation ward to be able to manage cases.
The city is not new to suspected meningococcemia, Deticio said. In 2008, a similar case was reported but it was also unconfirmed.
Herculano Ronolo, Malaybalay City administrator designate, told MindaNews Friday, they are making sure precautionary measures such as preventive medicine is given to those exposed to the victims.
According to the Department of Health, the disease is curable and could only be transmitted through direct contact or exposure with the infected person.
Meningococcemia is brought about by spread of the bacteria to bloodstream causing severe signs and symptoms, including fever, stiff neck, convulsion, in some delirium, altered mental status, vomiting, cough, sore throat, other respiratory symptom.
The most devastating form of meningococcemia is fulminant meningococcemia which consists of hemorrhagic rashes; drop in blood pressure and circulating shock leading to death, according to the DOH’s Frequently Asked Questions page on the disease. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)