DOH urged to act on meningo cases in Batangas

by Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News Southern Luzon

Posted at Mar 08 2014 02:35 AM | Updated as of Mar 08 2014 10:35 AM

BATANGAS – A legislator has asked the Department of Health (DOH) to act swiftly on the reported cases of meningococcemia in the Municipality of Bauan.

"In the absence of PDAF, I'm calling on the Department of Health to act on the situation swiftly before it reaches to unmanageable proportions," 2nd District Representative Raneo Abu said.

Abu's appeal stemmed from a letter sent by Bauan Municipal Health Officer Dr. Victor Bejer, saying that grade 3 pupil Aira Pedrosa Ramos of Manghinao Elementary School experienced symptoms of meningococcemia and died while being treated at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang.
Bejer said the victim tested positive for meningococcemia based on the lab results released by RITM.
Bejer said a 14-year-old boy also died of meningococcemia in September last year, while a 6-year-old girl survived from the ailment.

Although the three cases are in Bauan, Bejer said there is no outbreak of meningococcemia in the town.

Bejer said they were able to give vaccinations to the classmates and teachers of Ramos at the Manghinao Elementary School, as well as her parents and neighbors who had close contact with her.
However, Manghinao Elementary School has at least 1,300 other students who are also seeking vaccination.

"Kulang na kulang ang gamot namin sa mga estudyante pa lang, wala pa para sa mga humihinging mga magulang at guro," Bejer said.

"On the same day that I learned about it, I immediately brought the matter to DOH Sec. Enrique Ona's attention," Abu said.

Abu called on the DOH to provide Bauan with the needed medicine and prophylaxis for at least two of their barangays.
Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, for her part, said the provincial health office has already conducted clean-up and fumigation at Ramos’ school.
"We already gave them prophylaxis and antibiotics when we heard the incident but we are still continuously monitoring the situation," Santos-Recto said.

Meningococcemia is caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria that thrive in a person’s upper respiratory tract without causing visible signs of illness.

The bacteria can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets from sneezing or coughing.