By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
A LAWYER of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reportedly died of meningococcemia.
Atty. White Gallego, 43, of Lambunao, Iloilo and head of the DENR-6 legal division died last week after he was confined at the West Visayas State University Medical Center for showing signs of meningococcemia.
Gallego reportedly suffered from flu-like symptoms and died three days after confinement.
Dr. Jessie Glenn Alonsabe, Department of Health (DOH-6) regional epidemiologist, said they have yet to confirm the hospital findings if Gallego indeed died of meningococcemia.
But Alonsabe said they have distributed prophylaxis and oriented Gallego’s relatives and co-workers on the meningococcemia.
Meningococcemia is brought about by spread of the bacteria to the bloodstream causing severe signs and symptoms.
The most devastating form of meningococcemia is fulminant meningococcemia which consists of hemorrhagic rashes drop in blood pressure and circulating shock leading to death.
Symptoms of meningococcemia are, at least initially, similar to those of influenza.
Typically, the first symptoms include fever, nausea, myalgia, headache, arthralgia, chills, diarrhea, stiff neck, and malaise.
Later symptoms include septic shock, purpura, hypotension, cyanosis, petechiae, seizures, anxiety, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Acute respiratory distress syndrome and altered mental status may also occur.
Penicillin kills meningococcal bacteria that have invaded the body. Early recognition of meningococcal infection and prompt treatment with penicillin greatly improves chances of survival.
Infection is spread by direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat which contain the bacteria. Although meningococcal bacteria are common, they are extremely delicate outside of the body and are not very contagious.
The bacteria spread from an infected carrier to another person through close, direct physical contact and through coughing, and sneezing, kissing. It can also spread through saliva (spit) when sharing items such as food or drinks, cups, utensils and drinking straws.
In general, people should not share anything that has been in their mouth. Exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of spread of meningococci, as well as other bacteria.