Bicolanos cautioned against meningococcemia

The Department of Health (DOH) regional office here is urging Bicolanos to observe preventive measures against meningococcemia.

Dr. Lulu Santiago-Ramos, Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases coordinator of the Center for Health Development-Bicol, on Wednesday reminded the region's residents to boost their immune system by living a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy foods, cleaning the environment, and observing proper hygiene.

"Because of the severity and rapid progression of the disease, early diagnosis and immediate treatment is needed," she said.

Ramos said meningococcemia can spread from person-to-person through exchange of respiratory and throat secretions particularly from coughing, kissing, or sharing of utensils.

"However, this disease does not spread as easily as common colds or influenza as the bacteria causing the disease cannot survive outside of the human host," Ramos added.

She said a person is only at risk when there is direct contact with the infected person, that is why it is important to avoid being close to meningococcemia patients and going to crowded places, as much as possible.

If in a high-risk population, one is advised to be immunized with the Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine which, however, is only available in private hospitals in Bicol.