23 Mar 2018

Vaccinations contain meningitis outbreak at Fiji school

3:17 pm on 23 March 2018

Fiji's Ministry of Health has been working to contain an outbreak of meningitis at a boarding school in Levuka with a vaccination programme.

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Photo: AFP

Meningococcal disease is a life threatening bacterial infection that usually causes inflammation on the lining of the brain and spinal cord and sometimes blood poisoning.

An outbreak of meningitis was declared in Fiji with 18 cases reported in the first 8 weeks this year and 48 cases reported last year, nearly double the number from 2016.

The Ministry said it is a serious illness that can develop very quickly and had a 14 per cent death rate in the 2017 reported cases.

The symptoms of meningitis include headache, high fever, stiff neck, vomiting and sometimes a rash and anyone concerned is urged to seek prompt medical attention.

The World Health Organisation has assisted the Ministry and the school by providing vaccinations for students in close contact with those affected by the illness to limit the spread of the disease.

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Photo: 123rf