CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Three children have died due to the bacterial infection meningococcemia in Northern Mindanao in a span of just a few days, health authorities said Wednesday.
This city’s health officials identified one of the victims as Bayabas Elementary School grade one pupil Jhasmine Villagracia who died last September 9 at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
According to the victim’s uncle, Rubino Tangag, Villagracia did not display any signs of contracting the meningococcemia infection, but experienced high fever which was why she was brought to the NMMC.
“It was sudden. The day before she had a fever, she even went to school,” Tangag said.
The child was immediately buried at the Bolonsin public cemetery in Barangay Camaman-an.
An NMMC official, who refused to be named because he had no authority to give out information on cases involving the bacteria, told reporters that another child had died of meningococcemia last week.
On Monday, another child died of the same infection in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
As a precaution, everyone in the Villagracia and Tangag households were given doses of medicines by the village health workers.
Tangag said the Bayabas barangay health center distributed capsules of Ciprofloxacin for adults and Rifampicin Suspension, a liquid antibiotic for children.
Anita Genilla, Tangag’s live-in partner, said it was her first time to hear of someone being infected with meningococcemia in Bayabas, although she noticed that in their neighborhood in Zone 8, several children and adults contracted fever the week before.
Villagracia’s aunt Michella Arriba, however, said she did not believe that her niece had meningococcemia since, according to her, Jhasmine did not manifest any of the symptoms before she died.
At Bayabas Elementary School, principal Rosemarie Dullente sought the help of the city health office (CHO) in giving out medicines to the whole school population most especially those who came in contact with Villagracia, last Friday.
Dullente said she also directed the cleaning of the classrooms and campus surroundings to prevent the spread of disease. The school has a total of 1,333 students.
She also ordered the suspension of all Grade 1 classes, pending further notice from the school administration.
Dullente said Jacel Jane Cadusales, the school nurse, has also been put on standby to assist in monitoring children who may have shown signs of having contracted the infection.On Monday, another minor succumbed to the infection in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
According to health experts, meningococcemia is an infection caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, the same type of bacteria that can cause meningitis. (CAMCER ORDOÑEZ IMAM)