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MOSCOW, June 28 (Itar-Tass) - The panic over the outbreak of enterovirus diseases is absolutely ungrounded and the situation is within regular seasonal frames, Vladimir Nikiforov, the chief infection disease specialist of the Russian Federal Medical and Biological Agency, told a news conference on Friday.
“There is nothing to clutch the head in horror,” he said. In his words, enteroviral infections are seasonal infectious diseases, and serous meningitis as its type is easily curable.
Another specialist, Natalia Skripchenko of the Research Institute of Children’s Diseases, noted that in up to 85 percent cases of entrovirus infections people develop no symptoms. “Many of us are carriers of this infection, and only in 15 percent of cases there are clinical symptoms,” and only three percent out of these 15 are symptoms of serous meningitis, she said.
Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other mircoorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore, the condition is classified as a medical emergency. The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light (photophobia) or loud noises (phonophobia). Children often exhibit only nonspesific symptoms, such as irritability and drowsiness. To avoid contracting enterovirus meningitis, it is strongly recommended to wash hands, vegetable and fruit and not to swim at improper places.
Since early June, outbreaks of enetrovirus infections that might cause meningitis have been registered in various regions of Russia. The disease is especially dangerous for children. The bulk of meningitis cases were reported from Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don, where as many as 185 children contracted the infection in the period from June 3 to June 24. Fifty-five of them were diagnosed as having serous meningitis. One child died. Later, reports about meningitis cases in children came from Astrakhan, the Lipetsk region, Voronezh, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Kursk, and Moscow. In Moscow, meningitis diagnosis was proved in 40 children.