22 March, 2018, 12:00 am
The current meningococcal disease outbreak has pointed the finger of blame at the Neisseria Meningotidis bacteria according to the MOH. Apparently deaths from meningococcal disease have been on the increase since 2016 around the time of a huge spike in leptospirosis cases.
I believe both the Neisseria Meningotidis bacteria and the leptospira bacteria produce similar flu like symptoms upon infection. They both cause inflammation of brain tissue which can lead to brain damage or death. They are both deadly if left untreated at an early stage.
But I believe what is different is the mode of transmission. Neisseria Meningotidis bacteria is transmitted from person to person through saliva and open wounds. As the MOH pointed out it is difficult to contract this bacteria if proper hygiene is observed.
On the other hand the Leptospira bacteria exists in the environment and is prevalent during periods of high rainfall. As it is waterborne it is very easy to contract being passed on in urine of infected farm animals and domestic pets. A break in the skin will become infected if exposed to contaminated water.
It is good that the MOH has embarked on an awareness campaign on the dangers of bacterial meningitis. But I believe what it needs to do is to confirm that the leptospirosis bacteria is not the cause of the outbreak otherwise its warnings will be inadequate. I believe the problem will be greater than previously thought.