Cyprus Mail

Spate of meningitis cases not related

HEALTH officials said yesterday they were not concerned over three bacterial meningitis cases emerging within three days of each other because they were unrelated.

Later in the day, state broadcaster CyBC said that in a fourth case, a 56-year-old British man visiting Cyprus for a holiday was hospitalised in Famagusta, also with meningitis.

A 70-year-old woman died last Friday at Nicosia general hospital from complications related to bacterial meningitis while two others are being treated in Nicosia General Hospital. One person, a 53-year-old male civil servant was admitted to Nicosia hospital last week while a 60 year-old woman was moved from a private clinic in Nicosia to the general hospital on Sunday.

Head of medical services Andreas Georgiou said that the 60-year-old‘s condition was serious but stable while the 53-year-old was doing much better.

But Georgiou said the three persons were not in contact with each other, while some 100 people who have had contact with them and may have been infected have been given precautionary treatment.

“We were troubled by the fact we had three cases in effectively 72 hours of each other,” Georgiou said.

“But the most important fact is that the three cases are not epidemiologically connected in relation to their geographical distribution.”

The cases are all in line with anticipated outbreaks, especially during this time of year, Georgiou said.

Health minister Petros Petrides who was asked to comment during an unrelated news conference yesterday also said that the three people who got meningitis were not related. “Health services are on alert but there is no reason to panic,” Petrides said.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis must be treated as a medical emergency and may cause brain damage and blood infection if left untreated, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Small outbreaks occur around the world with seasonal variation accounting for a variable proportion of epidemic bacterial meningitis, the WHO says on its website.

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