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Russian ministry urges vigilance as provinces report meningitis outbreaks

June 27, 2013, 15:18 UTC+3

Each enteroviral infection case should be reported within two hours

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MOSCOW, June 27 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Ministry of Public Health urged provinces to take measures to timely identify enteroviral infection as several outbreaks of meningitis were reported across the country.

"To prevent the spreading of enteroviral infection... the Russian health ministry recommends the directors of medical centers, regardless of their form of ownership, to timely identify infection cases... when checking citizens' complaints, during medical assistance or medical examinations," the ministry said on its website.

Each enteroviral infection case should be reported within two hours, and urgent notification is required within 12 hours to the medical organizations responsible for sanitary and epidemiological monitoring of the area where the case was detected.

Enterorival infection patients or suspected contacts should be hospitalized in time, and preventive measures must be carried out in the nidi of the infection.

According to the ministry, this kind of infection usually peaks in the spring, summer and autumn in many Russian regions and elsewhere in the world.

It spreads through dirty hands, polluted water and dirty fruits and vegetables. To avoid contagion, it is recommend to stick to basic hygiene rules, i.e. wash hands, avoid swimming in polluted areas, and wash fruits and vegetables clean.

Outbreaks of enteroviral infection which often develops into meningitis have been reported in several Russian regions. The disease attacks children in the first place. Rostov-on-Don was the first to report a meningitis outbreak that sickened 185 children in the period from June 3 to June 24. One child died of serous meningitis. Outbreaks were later reported by the Astrakhan and Lipetsk regions, Voronezh and Moscow.

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms. Meningitis is life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; the most common symptoms being headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises.

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