Pacific on Men-C alert

THERE is a possibility the meningococcal bacteria may spread to other population, says the World Health Organization.

According to WHO, this was possible because people could carry the bacteria and never present symptoms of the deadly disease.

Although the international public health body has not recommend any trade or travel restrictions after the announcement of the outbreak last Tuesday, WHO said it was important surrounding countries and populations were notified of the outbreak and remained on high alert for any potential cases in their countries.

“In this current situation, WHO and other partners have notified other Pacific governments and authorities of the Fiji meningococcal C outbreak through the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network and have provided them guidelines on best-practice public health management for meningococcal disease,” WHO said.

WHO confirmed they were also on standby to support Pacific Island countries with technical support.

“Prior to 2016, meningococcal cases seen were caused by serogroup B. Since 2017, Fiji has been experiencing an outbreak of the strain (serogroup) meningococcal C.

“This is a very infectious strain which is known to cause outbreaks globally. Because Fiji had not experienced an outbreak of this serogroup in the past, the population has a low immunity and as a result there has been an increase in cases.”

The Health Ministry earlier confirmed 105 people had contracted the disease since 2016, and 14.4 per cent of them have died.