Baby admitted with meningitis doing well, health authorities say

The Health Ministry said a third child admitted to the ITU in a matter of days is unrelated to meningitis

The newborn baby that was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital with meningitis last week is recovering well at the hospital’s Intensive Therapy Unit after being treated with antibiotics, health authorities have said.

The boy was the second case of meningitis to be reported in the same week. The first was a 4-year-old boy who unfortunately died from the illness. However, the Health Ministry said it believed the boy suffered from an abnormally low immune system, which contributed to his death, despite being fully vaccinated.

The ministry this morning said that a third child, this time an eight-month-old girl, had been admitted to Mater Dei hospital with a case of septicaemia – blood poisoning caused by an infection, where large amounts of bacteria enter the bloodstream.

The girl is currently in critical condition in the ITU. While the symptoms of septicaemia resemble meningitis - the two are not linked, the Health Ministry said, adding that Septicaemia is not contagious.

“We do have plans to expand the range of vaccines that are provided by the national coverage. However, it takes time and is not something that can be done from one day to the next. As it stands the government is comfortable with the vaccines provided under national coverage,” a ministry spokesperson said.

Meningitis vaccines offered under national cover

Bacterial forms of meningitis are mainly Haemophilus influenza B (HIB), which is covered by the 5-in-1 vaccine that is given at two, three and four months of age.

Meningitis vaccines not offered under national cover

Vaccines for meningococcus, pneumococcus, meningococcus B and one for meningococcus ACYW are not covered and can cost upwards of €160.

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