Dáil Éireann - Volume 459 - 05 December, 1995

Written Answers. - Level of Meningitis.

49. Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for Health the increase, if any, in 1995 in the number of cases of meningitis; the plans, if any, he has for education programmes for general practitioners and the public in relation to meningitis; and [376] if he will make a statement on the matter. [18148/95]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): There are two forms of meningitis, bacterial and viral. Bacterial meningitis is usually the most serious form of the disease.

The number of cases of meningitis reported to my Department to date in 1995 and for the same period in 1994 are as follows:

1995 (to date)

1994 (1/1/94-2/12/94)

Acute viral meningitis

66

68

Bacterial meningitis

321

232

Health boards have been advised to ensure the wide distribution of the Health Promotion Unit's leaflet on meningitis to inform the public and professionals of the symptoms of the disease, the treatment of cases or suspected cases of the disease and the prevention of infection in contacts of cases or suspected cases. This information is already available through health centres, local health board officers, schools, GP surgeries and pharmacies. In addition, the health boards have been asked to consider what additional public information initiatives are required and to decide what particular measures need to be taken in each of their areas.

The Department and the health boards operate a comprehensive system for monitoring the incidence of meningitis which includes the immediate notification of cases of bacterial meningitis to the Department, following a notification by a general practitioner or hospital-based doctor. I am satisfied that the necessary measures are being taken to keep the public and professionals informed of the need for vigilance for the detection of early symptoms and the importance of early treatment in ensuring a complete recovery.