NICD officials tackling outbreak of meningitis in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Apr 9 (UNI) Meghalaya has sought the assistance of medical experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases(NICD), New Delhi, to train doctors, laboratory technicians and district health officers in tackling meningococcal meningitis.

Of the 161 cases reported since March 11, 22 patients were suspected to have died of meningitis, Director Health Services, Dr KH Lakiang said.

Another 22 are confirmed cases and 139 others suspected to be infected with this communicable disease, Dr Lakiang said.

Meningococcal meningitis is a communicable disease that is spread through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions. The most common symptoms are stiff neck, high fever, headache and vomiting. Even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate therapy instituted, five to ten per cent of the patients die typically within 24 to 48 hours of onset of symptoms.

As precautionary measures, Dr Lakiang said, the Health Department had instructed educational institutions, jails, police departments, besides others, to inform concerned authorities if anyone is infected with the disease for early treatment.

''We don't want to take chances. The department has ordered one lakh ceprofloxacin tablets to prevent the epidemic of meningitis,'' Dr Lakiang said.

Meanwhile, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Dr Adviser Pariong said the disease was curable and that the department had already geared up to tackle it.

The minister said a team of pathologists, epidemiologists and doctors had already been stationed in the Garo Hills to check the spread of malaria.

UNI RRK PL RN1547

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