Kuwait calls for health staff anti-meningitis vaccination

January 11, 2012

Kuwait’s health ministry has urged the heads of all health zones to ensure that people in direct and constant contact with patients known or suspected to have meningitis are vaccinated.

The decision includes staff at health facilities, as well as all children above two years old, Ebrahim Al Abdul Hadi, the ministry undersecretary, said in remarks meant to reassure people following the recent increase in the number of patients and the emergence of reports and rumours that caused panic in the country.

The health officials said that directors of health zones must verify the availability of vaccines at preventive care centres.

“Those in contact with cases, even those with confirmed meningitis, are no longer at risk 24 hours after taking the suitable antibiotics,” the official said.

The type of meningitis recently detected can be transmitted only through droplets of respiratory secretions during close contact, including kissing, sneezing, or coughing on someone. However, they cannot be spread by only breathing the air in a place where a person with meningitis has been, Kuwait news Agency (Kuna) reported on Monday.

According to the official, people who do not have prolonged close interaction with a suspected or confirmed patient do not need the vaccination and the main worries are linked to crowded living quarters.

Kuwait has been rocked by claims that meningitis had spread and that the population needed to be vaccinated.

However, officials have been allaying concerns, saying that the issue was being inflated.

Last month, Dr Yousuf Mendekar, head of Public Health, said that the ministry has recorded only two cases of meningitis in the country.

The official said that the Farwaniya Hospital discovered two cases and that the Preventive Health Department in Farwaniya Health Region notified the concerned authorities within 24 hours. The two infected people are workers who arrived in Kuwait from an Asian country on December 19, he said, adding that the hospital placed them on admission on December 20.

“I wish to state categorically that claims about widespread infection in Kuwait are a bundle of lies and rumours by mischievous figures,” he said. “I repeat that the ministry only recorded two cases”, he said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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