Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Meningococcal disease in the Philippines - update

19 January 2005

From 1 October 2004 to 16 January 2005, a total of 38 cases of meningococcal disease and 18 deaths (case fatality ratio, 47%) has been reported from Baguio City and a total of 40 cases and 12 deaths (case fatality ratio,30%) reported from the Cordillera Region, excluding Baguio City. Out of the total of 78 cases, 11 have been laboratory confirmed for N. meningitidis by the Baguio General Hospital and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Since 7 January the number of weekly cases has decreased.

Current control measures include case management of suspect cases, active surveillance and chemoprophylaxis of close contacts as well as vaccination of health workers directly involved in case management. Further field investigations to better understand the risk factors involved in the transmission of this disease are planned.

WHO, with the assistance of partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), is supporting the Department of Health, Philippines in strengthening epidemiological surveillance, increasing laboratory capacity for detection/confirmation of meningococcal disease, and implementing additional epidemiological studies. The GOARN team is composed of a meningococcal expert from the Institut de Médecine Tropicale du Service de Santé des Armées (IMTSSA), Marseille, France, a laboratory expert from the WHO Collaborating Centre, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, an epidemiologist from the Public Health Agency of Canada and an epidemiologist from the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training.

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