Over 200 people who had contact with the 7-year-old boy who succumbed to meningococcemia in Zamboanga City are now being traced.

The fatality reportedly showed symptoms of meningococcemia and was rushed to a private hospital where he died less than 24 hours later.

The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine examined his blood culture and confirmed it to be meningococcemia, an acute and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection of the bloodstream.

The bacteria Neisseria meningitis, better known as cause of meningococcal meningitis, often lives in the patient’s upper respiratory tract but typically does not cause visible signs of illness, according to the Department of Health.

As it is more contagious than other blood infection-causing bacteria, early detection and prompt treatment increases the chance of patient survival.

The boy’s parents and immediate family members, neighbors, playmates, as well as health professionals who has been in contact with the victim were given a prophylaxis against meningococcemia.

The Zamboanga City Health Office, reported the Inquirer, is tracing people who may have been exposed to the bacteria through the boy.

Those who had contact with the boy were placed under surveillance or strict health monitoring. Movement, while monitored is not restricted, said CHO medical officer Dr Maria Ivy Rozeth Saavedra-Ituralde..

There is no recommendation yet to place the people in isolation, she added.

The infectious disease can be spread between persons through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing food, drinks, and utensils.

It presents with fever, cough, sore throat, pinpoint rashes, skin lesions, unstable vital signs, and possible signs of meningitis, stiff neck or delirium, among others.

Treatments include early recognition of the infection, and with penicillin, according to the DOH Health Advisory 2012.

In preventing and controlling cases, one must avoid crowded places, and close contact with meningococcemia patients, maintenance of clean environment, nor sharing utensils with patients and frequent hand washing.

To prevent infectionthe public is advised to include healthy diet, regular exercise, avoidance of drinking and smoking, and adequate sleep and rest in their lifestyle.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease is found worldwide with the highest incidence in sub-Saharan Africa with attacks rates reaching 1,000 cases per 100,000 population. MIMS

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