Meningitis causes further disruption at Georgian schools

In the past month, 360 cases of meningitis have been reported in Georgia., 26 May 2014 - 19:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

Classes for primary students at public schools and kindergartens across Georgia have been further suspended following an outbreak of viral meningitis.

Health experts decided to suspend classes until the end of the week.

Minister of Health and Social Affairs David Sergeenko announced it had advised the Education Ministry to continue existing restrictions for all pupils up to Grade 6 until the end of the week.

The same restrictions apply to kindergarten pupils.

Lessons were initially suspended until tomorrow but this was revised today.

Sergeenko also noted the number of cases of viral meningitis were decreasing in Tbilisi.

"In regions this will have a certain interval. We think that after a week the cases [of the viral meningitis] will start to decrease in regions as well. A positive dynamic has been identified,” he said.

"However because figures have not yet decreased in the regions, we recommended the Education Ministry to continue imposing restrictions until the 6th Grade for 4 more study days, which is until the end of the week. The same goes for the kindergartens as well,” he noted.

Sergeenko said there was every indication to think terminating studies will not be necessary next week.

In the past month, 360 cases of meningitis have been reported in Georgia.

According to the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health the majority of cases ( 169) were registered in Georgia, followed by Kutaisi with 51 accidents. Adjara reported 18 cases and Rustavi noted 11.

Most of those infected in Tbilisi were children aged 5-9, followed by children aged 2-4 years of age.

The number of those infected was s also high among children aged 10-14 years.

The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said viral meningitis was often less severe than bacterial meningitis however it could be fatal depending on the virus causing the infection, the person’s age and general health.

Health Minister Sergeenko claimed this type of disease did not have a specific vaccine. He said the only effective way to prevent the disease was to have a high standard of personal hygiene, as the disease was transferred through hand contact.