4-month-old baby is the fourth to die of meningococcemia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 5) – A four-month-old baby boy died of meningococcemia at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, bringing the death toll among recent cases to four, a health official confirmed on Saturday.

Authorities also reported three new cases from Metro Manila and Cavite from September 22 to October 4. Previous cases and all four deaths were from Batangas province, including two from Nasugbu, one from Lian and one from Tanauan.

The latest fatality was admitted to the Ospital ng Nasugbu on October 3 and transferred to the San Lazaro Hospital on the same day. The boy succumbed to the disease the next day, according to Dr. Eduardo Janairo, DOH-CALABARZON regional director.

Meanwhile, the other suspected case – a 16-year old boy from Nasugbu - tested negative for the disease, Janairo said.

One more possible meningococcemia case from San Jose town also in Batangas is being validated by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. He was a 46-year-old man who died at the San Lazaro Hospital on September 28, Janairo added.

Despite the confirmed cases, Janairo allayed fears of meningococcemia outbreak in Batangas province. He said the locality is endemic for the disease, which means that the bacterial infection is constantly present in a population within a particular region.

3 more confirmed meningococcemia cases confined

Three more patients - from Tondo, Manila, Parañaque City and Cavite City - are currently confined at the San Lazaro Hospital due to confirmed cases of meningococcemia, the health care institution’s spokeman told CNN Philippines.

All three are in isolation to prevent the bacterial infection from spreading further, Dr. Ferdinand De Guzman said. The three patients are minors between the ages five to 16.

The illness caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria can kill in a matter of hours if left untreated. It is spread through direct contact such as when an infected person sneezes or coughs and another person catches respiratory droplets.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Crissy Dimatulac contributed to this report.