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Kiribati screens passengers at airports for signs of deadly meningococcal disease

The Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services has carried out an intensive medical screening at the Bonriki International Airport as well as the Cassidy International Airport in Christmas Island to all incoming passengers from abroad particularly Fiji as part of its efforts to prevent the arrival of the deadly meningococcal disease which was declared an outbreak in Fiji.

Director of Public Health Ereti Timeon told Radio Kiribati News a medical form has been provided to be filled by all incoming passengers who have visited or stayed in Fiji to determine where and how long those passengers have stayed there before coming to Kiribati.

Timeon says there are no confirmed cases of the disease yet but it could be detected in the country due to the ongoing increase in the number of passengers traveling to and from Fiji.

Timeon says that according to a report from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), there are now 38 confirmed cases of the disease in Fiji for this month and four deaths.

The person with the meningococcal disease could spread it to another person by exchange of body fluids through kissing, spitting sporadically, coughing and sharing of drinking cups or bottles.

The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, pain in the neck and joints, reddish rash on the skin and fever and chills, mental status changes, nausea and vomiting, purple, bruise-like areas, rash, pinpoint red spots, sensitivity to light, severe headache and stiff neck.

The Ministry of Health is advising members of the general public to be very cautious about the disease and report immediately to the nearest clinic if they’ve developed its symptoms.


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