By WALLACE KIALA
MENINGITIS, the inflammation of the protective membrane covering the brain (the meninges) caused by bacteria or virus, can be fatal if not treated early
Goroka General Hospital-based physician, Dr Winis Karaiye, raised concerns on Saturday that the public must ensure they received immediate medical attention, especially for young people, who are reportedly developing symptoms of meningitis.
Dr Karaiye was speaking in Port Moresby when he was invited to a family home at Waigani that was mourning the death of a young man who, according to Port Moresby General Hospital records, died last Friday upon succumbing to acute bacterial meningitis.
The deceased was in Grade 12 at Ialibu Secondary School and was in Port Moresby on holiday.
According to Dr Karaiye, international medical findings and information report that inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms and less commonly by certain drugs.
He said it is life-threatening because of the inflammation’s proximity to the brain and spinal cord, therefore, the condition is classified as a medical emergency.
The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises.
The global medical journal, The Meningitis Research Today, revealed that sometimes, especially in children, only non-specific symptoms may be present, such as irritability and drowsiness.
The report said if a rash is present, it may indicate a particular cause of meningitis; for instance, meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash.
Some forms of meningitis (such as those associated with meningococci, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococci or mumps virus infections) may be prevented by immunisation.
Friends and relatives of the deceased student can contact Ben Tomba71698566 and Oki Tanda 76275371 for further information and funeral arrangements.