BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- The Ministry of Health (MOH) urged the whole country Monday to prevent the epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, which has recently caused five deaths in eastern Anhui Province.
Statistics from Anhui provincial health department showed that from Dec. 20 to Jan. 28, the Anhui health authorities have received reports of 61 meningitis cases, 49 of which have been cured. Seven of those people are under quarantine. Most of those who died were students.
Meningitis also occurred elsewhere in China, with the total reported cases nationwide amounted to 258 in the first month of 2005, a rise of 94 from the same period last year, with 16 reported deaths.
The MOH cautioned the public in a notice that such infectious diseases such as the epidemic meningitis are easily spread by increase of population flow during imminent Spring Festival holidays.
In order to prevent and control the epidemic meningitis, the MON asked all health authorities to step up monitoring and reporting work concerned with this disease, assuring that the public may get timely and precise reports on the epidemic.
According to the notice, medical institutes should prepare enough vaccines, with a focus on regions with dense population.
The whole country should take such measures as early finding, early reporting, early diagnosing and early treatment for the disease. Those patients who have been infected by meningitis should be timely isolated and treated by experts, the notice said.
The MOH also urged the public to enhance health awareness, to pay attention to private health and environmental cleanness. The authorities of health, education and transportation should coordinate with each other to maintain the cleanness of public places, so as to better prevent the epidemic, said the notice.
Medical experts suggested people, especially students at high and primary schools, do more physical exercise to increase immunity. They urged those suffering from fever, headache, sore throat or cough to go to a hospital for treatment.
Meningitis is an acute infectious disease most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by fever, vomiting and intense headache.
Previous outbursts of meningitis were usually caused by group Aof meningitis diplococcus, a kind of bacteria, and this kind of epidemic has been effectively controlled since China provided kidswith inoculation against the group A bacteria in 1984. The currentepidemic in Anhui was caused by the group C bacteria, which spreadeasier and is more difficult to control. Enditem