Manila hospital shuts down emergency unit over suspected meningococcemia-infected patient

Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2019 08:40:49 +0000

A HOSPITAL in Manila temporarily closed its emergency unit after one of its patients showed symptoms of meningococcal infection or meningococcemia.

The Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC) in Tondo, Manila posted on its Facebook account that the closure was “part of standard safety procedure and infection control protocol because of a patient with suspected meningococcal infection.”

Meningococcal infection or meningococcemia is a “rare infectious disease characterized by upper respiratory tract infection, fever, skin rash and lesions, eye and ear problems, and possibly a sudden state of extreme physical depression (shock) which may be life-threatening without appropriate medical care.”

The GABMMC assured the public that “all precautionary measures have been implemented to prevent any risk of spread of infection.”

The disease is not highly contagious unless one is in close contact with the patient, it added.

The other areas of the GABMMC, including the out-patient department, remain open for those seeking treatment.

The ER operations may be resumed on January 24, it said.

The closure came a week after the Department of Health quashed rumors on social media that there was a meningococcemia outbreak, following the death of an unidentified two-year old female due to the disease who later on tested negative for the severe bacterial infection.

Dr. Rolan Mendiola, senior house officer of the GABMMC, said the hospital was awaiting the confirmatory test result to know if its 55-year old patient who exhibited symptoms of the infection was positive for meningococcemia.

Usually the blood culture confirmation (results) take five days. This is still a suspected case because there is no confirmation yet,” said Mendiola.

Health Undersecretary Rolando Domingo said that some 200 cases of meningococcemia were recorded in the country every year.

Domingo added, “It should not cause illness, but if the body’s resistance weakens, bacteria might enter the body and lead to sickness.” CATHERINE A. MODESTO


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