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Durban’s meningitis warning after death of 7-year-old boy

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AT least 40 pupils as well as doctors, nurses and teachers in Amanzimtoti have been placed on antibiotics to prevent them from contracting a “very infectious” strain of meningitis following the death of a 7-year-old boy last week.

Paediatrician Thesiga Reddy, one of the doctors who treated the boy at Kingsway Hospital, said he was admitted with a “unique” case of meningococcal meningitis, which was known to progress rapidly. Although it was easy to treat in the early stages, “the child was unconscious by the time he got to the hospital”.

The boy was given the required antibiotics, but once that form of meningitis was at an advanced stage there was always “a poor outcome”.

Reddy said given that meningococcal meningitis was highly infectious the department of health had been informed of the boy’s case and was investigating. He said no other cases had been reported.

Following the boy’s death schools in Amanzimtoti have warned parents to carefully monitor the health of their children. Over the past few days pupils have been sent home with letters explaining what medical red flags their parents should look out for.

Amanzimtoti Primary School and Umdoni Pre-primary issued letters to parents while other institutions including Noah’s Ark Pre-school and Daycare Centre posted warnings on Facebook. However, all the schools assured the community that none of their pupils had contracted the disease.

Doctor Casandra Sullivan of the Amanzimtoti Intercare medical facility said: “It’s terrible that one child died but it’s not (threat of the disease) as major as stated on some Facebook posts.” She said South African children were vaccinated only with the drug Prevnar, which protected them against pneumococcal meningitis and not viral or meningococcal meningitis, which the boy had contracted.

Sullivan said while no other case of meningitis had been reported over the past few days, the few patients who had come in with “suspicious” symptoms had been sent to hospital as a precaution.

She said typical meningitis symptoms included severe headaches, neck ache and vomiting.

“Babies who have high fevers and don’t want to feed should be taken to the doctor immediately.”

Dr Reddy said parents could have their children vaccinated for meningococcal meningitis at private health care facilities as the vaccine was not available at government facilities.

Meanwhile, two cases of viral meningitis have been reported on the Bluff. A Marlborough Park Junior Primary School pupil was rushed to hospital with severe headaches a week ago but has since recovered and is back at school. The principal said no other pupils from the school had meningitis.

However, the boy’s mom has also contracted viral meningitis and is still in hospital. Yesterday she called on parents to be extra cautious when their children complained of headaches.

“When my son woke up he just kept on crying that his head is sore, and then his stomach started running and he was vomiting and that’s when I jumped in my car and took him to hospital.”

She said following blood tests and a lumbar puncture doctors informed her he had tested positive for viral meningitis. Just days after he was discharged she ended up in hospital and again a lumbar puncture indicated viral meningitis. She said apart from the severe headaches both she and her son had been extremely sensitive to light.

KZN health department spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said “there is no reason for alarm”.

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Skeem Saam’s Koko Mantsha death dismissed as fake news

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Koko Mantsha, the popular Skeem Saam character acto, real name, Lydia Mokgokoloshi is not dead.

Social media is awash with news of her death which seems to have been fuelled by fake news sites aiming to profit from unsuspecting lovers of the 80 year-old veteran actress.

Lydia Mokgokoloshi, has appeared in many television shows including Muvhango and Bophelo ke semphego.

Mokgokoloshi was born on 27 September 1939, in Polokwane, Polokwane Local Municipality, Capricorn District Municipality, Limpopo.

She is most famous for acting as Koko Mantsha the grandmother of Katlego Pietersen (Patrick Seleka) in the soap, Skeem Saam.

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Watch: Thulani Dlomo an alleged ‘Zuma spy’, hands himself in

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Thulani dlomo

Thulani Dlomo, the axed former SSA top spy and former SA ambassador to Japan has handed himself over to police on Friday.

Dlomo’s lawyer Philani Shangase said that he handed himself over at his own will at the Durban Central Police station on Friday.

He said Dlomo was not arrested but wanted to clear his name following media reports.

Dlomo was being interviewed by police officers at 17h00 on Friday.

“He has denied all wrong doing,” Shangase said.

Dlomo was suspected to be one of the instigators of the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

This is a developing story.

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Residents warned against consuming dead fish washing up at Umhlanga and Umdloti beaches – video

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The eThekwini Municipality has sent out a warning to residents against collecting and consuming dead fish and crayfish that have washed up on the beaches of Umhlanga and Umdloti, north of Durban.

The public has been asked to refrain from fishing, surfing and swimming on the beaches after a video of the dead fish on the beaches emerged on social media.

The municipality said it was investigating what caused the marine life to die.

“It is considered serious and can affect one’s health if collected and consumed.”

According to reports, run-off water and chemicals reached the ocean through storm water drains after firefighters battled a blaze at a chemical plant at Cornubia started by looters on Tuesday.

WATCH | Outrage after several monkeys and dog poisoned in Umdloti

“The public is advised to refrain from all recreational activities, including fishing or surfing, bait collection and picking up of dead species in this area,” said the municipality.

“Collecting or harvesting of any marine living resource in the area is temporarily prohibited until the cause is determined and the threat has abated.

“Authorities are investigating the source of the pollution and cleanup companies are trying to contain the spill.”

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