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Deadly meningitis alert in Delhi - cut fruits, droplets from sneezing danger

nabadip - Tue, 03 May 2005 19:22:15 +0530
Ban on sale of cut fruits

Staff Reporter

Bid to contain a deadly form of meningitis

NEW DELHI: In view of the reported outbreak of a deadly form of meningitis in the city, the Delhi Government on Monday ordered a ban on sale of cut fruits and unpacked eatables and convened a meeting of top Health Department officials on Tuesday.

The meeting will be chaired by the State Health Minister, Yoganand Shastri.

Asserting that there was no need for panic, Mr. Shastri said the Government had directed officials to ensure that enough meningococcal vaccine was supplied to the hospitals to meet the requirements. He said around 12 cases of the disease have been reported and most came from the Walled City area of Delhi.

Mr. Shastri said the situation would be reviewed at a meeting convened by him tomorrow of Health Department officials, which experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) will also attend.

Meanwhile, the Director General Health Services S.P. Aggarwal, said he would be holding a meeting of the 32 hospital medical superintendents tomorrow to look into the matter.

Also, a high-power committee consisting of Head of Department, Paediatrics, Kalawati Saran Hospital, A.K. Dutta; senior physician at Hindu Rao Hospital, Ajit Kumar Goel; president of the Delhi Medical Association, K.K. Aggarwal; and Hony Secretary DMA, Girish Tyagi, has been constituted. .

"Delhi gets as many as 15 to 20 cases and if treated early it is completely curable. The symptoms to look out for include intense headache, vomiting and stiff neck which may progress to coma within a few hours. Last epidemic in India occurred in 1999 when 686 deaths occurred of the 7,444 cases reported. Antibiotics if started during two days can save 95 of cases and vaccine is given to all high risk individuals but is not in the routine immunisation list," said Dr. Aggarwal.
nabadip - Tue, 03 May 2005 19:49:54 +0530
Meningococcemia kills three in Capital

Sutirtho Patranobis

New Delhi, May 2, 2005

At least three people have recently died in the Capital of meningococcemia -- a highly infectious and rare kind of meningitis with a high mortality rate. There are unconfirmed reports of deaths from the disease from Sonepat as well.

Two deaths were reported from Hindu Rao Hospital that has seen at least a dozen cases in the past fortnight.

Seven cases of meningococcemia have been reported from Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, the biggest Delhi government hospital, in the past 10 days. One patient died last week and six are undergoing treatment.

Unlike the more common viral meningitis, meningococcemia is caused by bacteria. It is transmitted from person-to-person by respiratory droplets when the infected person coughs, sneezes or laughs.

"It is a very, very serious disease. It might begin as a respiratory infection with cold, cough and a headache. Then, the bacteria can affect the brain. Skin rash and low blood pressure are the other symptoms," said Dr SP Bayotra, senior consultant, Sir Ganga Ram hospital.

Experts say since the disease is rare, it can be termed as an outbreak if there are just three cases in three months.

"The sudden flow of patients is alarming. Most of the patients have come from the congested Walled City area where the disease can spread easily," said Dr NP Singh, department of medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College.

One person was admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences with symptoms of the disease a week ago while two persons are undergoing treatment at Ganga Ram hospital.

Bacterial meningitis is more common among infants and children. Teenagers are also susceptible to it. So are those with a weak immune system. The disease was last reported in large numbers 10 years ago.


* Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening if not treated promptly

* Its symptoms are cough, cold, fever, skin rash, low BP

* Transmitted via contact with droplets from nose, throat of infected persons

nabadip - Sun, 08 May 2005 23:03:11 +0530
Meningitis outbreak strikes India

A total of 15 people have died of bacterial meningitis in the Indian capital, Delhi, officials say.

Another 86 people have contracted the disease, prompting the government to issue an alert about the disease to communities and hospitals.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain lining, or meninges, which can cause serious disability or death.

An outbreak of the disease killed 800 people in India nearly two decades ago. Of these 70 people died in Delhi.

The patients in Delhi are suffering from meningococcal meningitis, caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.

The disease can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing and intimate kissing.

The symptoms of meningococcal infection can include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, joint pain and drowsiness or disorientation.


The Delhi health minister Yoganand Shastri told reporters that seven meningitis deaths were reported on Thursday alone.

He said an epidemic had still not been declared as the government was taking steps to prevent it from spreading.

Authorities say the disease has broken out mostly in crowded areas
Mr Shastri said a majority of the cases were being reported from the capital's crowded old city.

"If need be, we will also use loudspeakers to inform people that the bacteria spreads through nasal drops in congested areas and they should stay away from crowded places," he told The Hindu newspaper.

He also admitted to a shortage of vaccines to protect against pneumococcal disease, and said the companies manufacturing them had been asked for more supplies.

India's Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told the parliament that there was "no cause for alarm" and that eforts were underway to check any further spread of the disease.

Meningitis is usually caused by either bacteria or a virus.

Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial but is rarely life-threatening.

Meningitis caused by bacteria tends to be more serious.

Broadly, there are two types of bacterial disease: meningococcal and pneumococcal. Vaccines exist for both.

Most cases of meningococcal meningitis can be treated with antibiotics, but it is important to catch the disease early.