Health authorities here have confirmed a case of a primary school child being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, an infection of the membranes that protect the spinal cord and brain.
When the membranes become infected, they swell and press on the spinal cord or brain. This can cause life-threatening problems. A child catches the germs by breathing in the mist or touching the drainage from an infected person.
Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, fever, confusion, and a stiff neck. Some people experience a rash. Treatment may include medication to reduce the inflammation and swelling bacterial meningitis causes.
“This child became symptomatic on November 30 and became progressively unwell on December 3. The child was found to have symptoms of meningitis and this was confirmed by clinical and laboratory tests,” the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) said in a statement.
It said that the preliminary results show that the child has pneumococcal meningitis, where the causative organism is streptococcus pneumonia.
“This is a bacterium that exists in nasal passages and may or may not cause disease. It is an organism that can cause a wide array of infections like pneumonia and meningitis,” the ministry said, adding that it has since become aware “of another child with clinical symptoms of meningitis who was taken to the Western Regional Hospital”.
It said that the child also resides in the capital and attends another primary school.
“Laboratory tests have been conducted, and the results are awaited to confirm this diagnosis,” the authorities said, adding “the MOHW and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (MoECST) are working closely with the respective schools to ensure that all infectious control guidelines and practices are being taken.
“In addition, the MOHW is currently conducting surveillance interviews with families and friends of those who may have come in contact with both children to determine whether other persons are exhibiting symptoms.
“It is important to note that guidelines for the management of pneumococcal meningitis state that routine prophylactic management is not recommended; however, the country should make the final decision on prophylaxis depending on various factors, including the detection of cluster cases,” the MOHW said, adding that it has issued guidelines to the MoECST and both schools.
“The MOHW and MoECST affirm that the priority is for the well-being of the children and their contacts. Both ministries are working together to ensure that there is effective communication between teachers and parents and that infection, prevention and control procedures are in place.”
Source : Carribean