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16 People in China Died of Meningitis in January
According to recent statistics from the Chinese Minister of Health, a meningitis outbreak in multiple provinces in China resulted in a total of 258 cases nationwide, with a death toll of about 16, in the first month of the year. This is 94 cases more than counted in the same period in a year ago. The health ministry issued an emergency notice on Jan. 31 to strengthen precautions and efforts to control the disease.
From November 2004 to Jan. 30, a total of 546 cases were reported based on the data collected by the ministry of health. Only Fujian, Hainan and Tibet provinces have been free of meningitis reports. The five provinces with the most cases are Anhui, Henan, Hebei, Jiangshu and Sichuan. In Anhui province, 11 cities have reported a total of 60 people infected and eight fatal cases. There were five cases documented in Jilin province, and six cases plus one pending from northern Jianshu.
According to medical experts, it is now entering the peak period for meningitis and other infectious diseases. Data from the national center for monitoring infectious diseases demonstrated that epidemic meningitis has spread in Anhui province and sporadic meningitis cases occur in other provinces.
Meningitis is a common acute infectious disease and generally peaks in winter and spring in China. Meningitis is caused by any of more than a dozen virus or bacteria. Among them, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis for 90 percent cases in China is group A of meningitis diplococcus. The bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. The symptoms of meningitis include higher fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and shock in severe situation. Currently, antibiotics treatments are only effective for some cases in the early stage of the infection. The disease incubation time is two to 10 days and generally three or four days.
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