In Santiago, the capital of Chile, the health authorities have launched a campaign to vaccinate the city's children against epidemic meningitis, following an outbreak of the disease.
In Santiago, the capital of Chile, the health authorities have launched a campaign to vaccinate the city's children against epidemic meningitis, following an outbreak of the disease. The effort to protect 1.3 million children was organised in ten days and vaccination began this week.
SYNOPSIS: The infectious diseases department of the Roberto Del Rio hospital has been faced with an upsurge in the number of children with meningitis. The authorities say it is not yet an epidemic, but the number of cases treated each month has risen from one or two, to nine. Outside the Hospital El Salvador, mothers are queuing with their children for the free vaccinations.
The authorities plan to dose 1.3 million children in three weeks, at a cost of one million U.S. dollars.
The children generally protest against the needle, but meningitis is a dangerous disease. It can reach epidemic proportions among children, especially in cool weather. The illness can affect their sight and hearing, cause lasting mental damage or death. 50,000 children between the ages of two and 18 years were vaccinated on the first day of the campaign and the health authorities expect the daily rate to go higher. They have told the people of Santiago that there is no cause for alarm, because the vaccinations should prevent the possibility of an epidemic.