No epidemic threat in Sharjah: MoH

SHARJAH — A 12-year-old Somali girl succumbed to meningitis after fighting the deadly fever for 24 hours at a local hospital on Monday morning.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Fri 2 Nov 2007, 9:51 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:34 AM

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has asked people to exercise caution and not to panic as the case was isolated and did not pose any epidemic threat.

Dr Mariam Mattar, assistant under-secretary for Public Health and Primary Healthcare at the MoH, has assured the public that they need not worry about any epidemic.

“As per the details, the girl, whose name has been withheld, was admitted to Al Zahra Private Hospital in Sharjah on October 29 and died 24 hours later because her case was severe,” said the MoH official. The girl was a student of Grade VII at a private school in Sharjah, said Dr Mattar, adding that the girl’s family, including two brothers and another sister, were not infected.

“The infection was a result of meningitis Type B which rarely infects those not in the age group of six to 18 months, as all children born in the country since 1999 have been effectively vaccinated against this type of bacteria,” explained Dr Mattar. She also said that the Preventive Medicine Department in Sharjah had taken all required precautionary measures.

Among other steps taken, Dr Mattar said that medical check-ups of all people related to, and who had communicated with the deceased recently, had been conducted. “Proper medication has been given to those near her, including school students and her family members. The MoH officials are also conducting daily visits to the school to ensure that the health of all those who communicated with the dead girl are still okay.

Meanwhile, the head of Sharjah Education Zone said that they had no information about the case.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), meningococcal meningitis in the UAE continues to occur sporadically since the 1987 outbreak when 145 cases were reported. The UAE strategy for monitoring and controlling meningitis includes immediate notification of such cases to the Department of Preventive Medicine, proactive surveillance measures and immunisation.

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person’s spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. It is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone above the age of two.

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