Dr Fatiaki: Fijians should not panic

FIJIANS should not panic over the meningococcal disease outbreak, says Fiji College of General Practitioners president Dr John Fatiaki.

Dr Fatiaki said the outbreak was not something “all of Fiji should immediately be worried about that they are going to catch it”.

He said this because the disease was not endemic to Fiji.

“It’s not endemic. Usually when there is an outbreak in a localised area it’s not something that the entire country is going to get immediately.

“It is not as contagious as flu where somebody just sneezes and cough and somebody else will get it,” Dr Fatiaki said.

“Meningitis is less transmittable. It is usually people with very close contact, transmitted by saliva or someone kissing somebody else.

“It’s got to be that kind of contact in order for it to be transmitted.

“Generally when it occurs, it will be what transmitted within a ‘pocket’ or particular area.

“When there is an outbreak, it’s usually limited to that pocket area.”

However, Dr Fatiaki said that should not make everyone comfortable.

“Wherever the pockets are, I’m sure the Minister for Health will have it mapped out and vaccinate those in the area because the condition is dangerous in terms of how rapid it transmits.

“Generally if one is suspected of having the disease, we can treat it before we do tests to get blood result, which is critical.

“The sooner we begin treatment on a patient the better.

“The bottom line message is that people shouldn’t panic.”