The Department of Health (DOH) Davao Center for Health Development on Tuesday, September 3, confirmed the death of a 4-year old boy at a hospital in Davao City is due to meningococcemia.
DOH issued the confirmation after the laboratory results came out on Monday approximately three days after the passing of the patient at the Brokenshire Hospital Ministry, Inc. on August 30.
Despite the confirmed existence of the acute and potentially life-threatening bacteria in Davao City, DOH regional director Dr. Annabelle Yumang reiterated that the bacteria causing meningoccocal disease is not easily transmitted contrary to alarming posts on social media.
“There has to be direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat of the infected person for someone to be at risk,” Yumang said.
She added that the bacteria can also be spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, sharing of food, drink, and utensils.
Yumang, however, said the department is continuously coordinating with the concerned individuals for the profile of the deceased child, including information on the places he visited and people who may have come into close physical contact are being monitored and will be monitored for ten days after their last exposure to the infected person.
“To date, none among those who are being closely monitored are manifesting any signs nor symptoms that are similar to the case definition of the disease,” she added.
To those who had close contact with the patient, a post-exposure prophylaxis was also immediately given.
“That includes the family members, pupils from the pre-school where he deceased child was studying, teachers, and even the emergency room staff who closely attended the patient,” Yumang said.
The DOH 11 chief, meanwhile, said educating the public is one way to prevent the spread of Meningococcemia. Thus, the department deployed personnel to visit the school and met with the teachers and parents of other students to alleviate fears and ensure that they have correct information about the diaease.
Despite the panic and fear caused by the tragic incident, DOH urged the public to help raise awareness not just with Meningococcemia but also with the different pressing issues like dengue, measles, and leptospirosis.
The department also assured that the situation is under control.