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Meningitis claims three lives in Battagram.

BATTAGRAM -- Three women died and several others were hospitalised in Allai tehsil of Battagram district after a disease caused by bacterial infection reportedly broke out in the area a week ago, locals told reporters on Sunday.

After the three deaths, the people got worried and took their normal patients to hospital for check-ups.

The women who lost their lives were identified as Taj Nisa, Faiza and Rehana Bibi. Two others, including Robeena and Bibi Shakira, were discharged from the Ayub Medical Complex Abbottabad after treatment.

When contacted, district health officer Dr Mohammad Khan Afridi told Dawn that people needed not to panic. He said mobile health teams had been sent to the tehsil to overcome the situation.

Mr Afridi said after referring some patients to Ayub Medical Complex Abbottabad, it was revealed in the laboratory investigation report that patients were affected by Meningococcal Neisseria bacterial disease, which was reported first time in Battagram.

The DHO added that teams of Expanded Programme on Immunisation were visiting the affected patients' homes to provide vaccination to all family members as the disease was communicable.

He said laboratory tests of patients would be carried out, adding a medical camp had also been established in Banna hospital, and asked the people having headache, temperature and pain in neck to visit the camp for necessary tests.

Mr Afridi also asked that people should come to the hospital individually as the disease was communicable.

He said he had got purchased medicines and other medical kits out of a special fund to deal with emergencies provided by the provincial government.

He said the disease was common in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and, most probably it was communicated during the performance of Haj.

Mr Afridi said Meningococcal Neisseria spread through saliva and respiratory secretions during coughing, sneezing, kissing and even through sharing a source of fresh water.

It initially produced general symptoms like fatigue, fever and headache and could rapidly progress to neck stiffness, coma and death in 10 per cent of cases.

With a fatality risk approaching 15 per cent within 12 hours of infection, it is crucial to initiate testing as quickly as possible, but not to wait for the results before initiating antibiotic therapy, he advised.

All the recent contacts of the infected patient should receive medication to prevent them from contracting the infection. This especially includes young children, he said.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Jan 2, 2018
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