30 contract meningitis bacterium in southern Vietnam

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Thirty people in Ho Chi Minh City have tested positive for the bacterium that causes meningitis, which could be fatal if left untreated, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Tuesday.

The paper quoted Tran Phu Manh Sieu, director of the HCMC Center for Preventive Health, as saying that the cases were detected among workers of the Japanese-owned Furukawa Automotive Parts Vietnam's factory in Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone, District 7.

Following the discovery, the center has prescribed antibiotics for all 6,200 workers of the factory to prevent the spread of Neisseria meningitides the bacterium that causes meningitis, it said.

Those people who have fever will be asked to take rest at local health clinics and not return to work so as to curb the spread of the disease.

According to the report, from Tuesday local agencies will start inspections at other factories in Tan Thuan and launch campaigns to raise local workers' awareness about the disease.

Since last December HCMC has recorded six cases suffering from brain inflammation caused by the bacterium.

The latest was that of  a 22-year-old student, the VnExpress newswire reported Saturday.

According to the report, the student of the People Police School 2 in District 9 was admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases on January 10 with fever and the symptoms of meningitis. He tested positive for Neisseria meningitides four days later. 


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The VnExpress report said the student, whose identity wasn't revealed, is currently in stable health condition.

It quoted Sieu as saying that to prevent the contagious bacterium, they have prescribed antibiotics for all the students of the school for five days and sterilize the school.

Another case was also reported in the northern province of Nam Dinh last Friday.

Sieu said since people mainly contract the bacterium via respiratory system, respiratory hygiene is needed. He recommended people clean their throat with saline solution or medical throat cleansers three times per day, stressing that it is a simple yet effective way to protect oneself against the disease.

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