Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the meninges that affects the brain membrane. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 percent of cases if untreated, according to the World Health Organization.
The bacteria can be carried in the throat and sometimes, for reasons not fully understood, can overwhelm the body's defenses, allowing infection to spread through the bloodstream to the brain, the WHO said.
After Tet (Lunar New Year), which fell on January 23, the number of patients in the five above localities has increased sharply and one of them, an 11-month-old baby in Quang Tri, has died, the department said.
At the Central Tropical Disease Hospital, the latest victim of the disease is Nghiem Duy B, 35, of Hanoi, who was hospitalized on January 27 in a coma, said Dr Nguyen Trung Cap, deputy head of the Intensive Care Unit. Read More