Meningococcal outbreak in Fiji

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THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services yesterday confirmed there were five cases of meningococcal disease at St John's College in Levuka.

A student also died at the beginning of this term, after the disease outbreak at the school.

Health Ministry permanent secretary Philip Davies said they approached the World Health Organization (WHO) to support vaccination of students.

When contacted yesterday for a comment, WHO said it would comment on the issue later.

Mr Davies also gave his assurance the ministry was well placed to manage the risks associated with the outbreak.

He said there was ongoing monitoring of public health activities at the college and providing factual information to the broader community to allay concerns and ensure there was no stigmatisation or discrimination of college students.

According to WHO, meningococcal disease is a severe but uncommon infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria invades the body from the throat or nose.

Although most people who have these bacteria in their throat or nose remain quite well, they are able to spread the bacteria to others and a few of these people may subsequently become ill.

No comments could be obtained from the school or the Ministry of Education regarding the outbreak of the disease at the institution.

SOURCE: The Fiji Times online

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