Three persons, including a grade one student, died due to meningococcemia infection in the southern Philippines province of Misamis Oriental, local health officials have confirmed. 

Young victim Jhasmine Villagracia did not manifest any signs of the fatal bacterial infection prior to hospitalization except for high-grade fever. She even went to school the day before. Her death caught both the medical team and her family by surprise.

She died on September 9 at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and was immediately buried at the public cemetery following the advice of health officials.

Before her, two other patients succumbed to meningococcemia, according to a source who declined to be named due to the lack of authority.

Their identities have been withheld.

The bacteria responsible for meningococcemia, neisseria meningitidis, is the same type of pathogen that can cause meningitis, or the inflammation of the meninges. In meningococcemia, the pathogen remains in the blood and doesn’t travel or affect the brain and spinal cord.

It whatever form, infection with this pathogen is considered a medical emergency. However, it’s important to note that n. meningitidis can live harmlessly in the respiratory tract, according to Health Line.

Symptoms include fever, headache, rashes consisting of small spots, nausea, irritability and anxiety.

The people whom Villagracia came into contact with, her family, including the victim’s uncle’s own family were given medicines.

Likewise, the local barangay health center distributed capsules of Ciprofloxaxin to adults and Rifampicin suspension to children.

In the elementary school Villagracia attended, the school principal is seeking the help of the city health office in the distribution of medicines for the entirety of the school population – all 1,333 students, most especially those who came in close contact with the child. The victim’s school nurse had shown signs of infection, the principal added.

Following the incident, cleaning drives are being implemented in the school classrooms. All grade 1 classes are also suspended until further notice from the school administration.

Similarly in 2015, an 11-month old baby boy was found to be infected with meningococcemia in Camarines Sur, Bicol. The boy died 2 hours after his admission and was buried in a sealed casket.

The Department of Health during this time told the public not to worry because the disease had not spread. MIMS

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