Tuesday 23 July 2019

11 dead, 57 seriously ill in the Netherlands with a rare meningococcal disease

At least 57 people have ended up in intensive care and 11 people have died after becoming infected with meningitis so far this year, the AD reported on Wednesday.

The figures come from the national public health institute RIVM and show that the number of deaths is now equal to 2017 as a whole, the paper said.

According to the AD, prior to 2015 there were an average of four infections a year and no deaths.

Experts in the UK also report a rise in infections and say this is due to a particularly virulent strain of the bacteria.

Last year the cabinet decided that all 14-year-olds and 14-month old babies should be vaccinated against the disease. However, the shortage of vaccines means teenagers will have to wait until October to be vaccinated, the AD said.

‘It is extremely important that 14-year-olds are vaccinated,’ meningitis expert Arie van der Ende told the paper.

The situation, he said, is ‘worrying’, adding that ‘what stands out is the high mortality rate – at 15% it is really high.’

Permanent damage

Dozens of people have been near to death he said. ‘They will have permanent damage from the infection. It could be brain damage or they could lose and arm or foot because of the blood poisoning.’

Meningoccocal meningitis is spread through the air. The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.

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