Meningitis rumours create panic in school

January 30, 2013 - 3:13:19 am

DOHA: Rumours surrounding a suspected case of the deadly meningococcal meningitis infection caused panic in a private school over the past two days forcing the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) to issue a denial.

Rumours started circulating on Monday morning, after a boy student of the Al Maha Academy in Ain Khaled area was taken to hospital following illness. 

Panic spread as reports reached the school that the boy was suspected to be suffering from meningitis, a serious and sometimes fatal bacterial infection.

In a statement yesterday, the SCH scotched the rumours and said no meningitis infection had been detected in the country. 

It said the boy was affected with enterovirus, a common virus that enters the body through the intestinal system. His condition was stable, the statement added.

As the news spread on Monday, many parents went to the school to take their children back home. 

School officials immediately contacted the hospital and the health authorities to know about the boy’s condition. 

By afternoon, parents received text messages from the school, allaying their fears about a possible meningitis infection.

“Al Maha Academy would like to inform you that all students have been checked for meningitis and there are no cases of this illness,” the message said.

“Al Maha is also in close contact with the Supreme Council of Health to follow necessary procedures for this illness,” it added.

Parents were also informed that two senior officials from the communicable diseases department at SCH will be available in the school the next day to answer queries.

The situation in the school was back to normal yesterday, according to sources. Student attendance was also normal. 

As a prevention against the spread of meningitis in the country, SCH provides vaccination to Haj and Umrah pilgrims as well as those travelling to countries where the incidence of the disease has been reported, SCH said in the statement.

The Peninsula