Cases of fatal neurologic infections increase sharply

Cases of fatal neurologic infections increase sharply

/ 05:46 AM November 23, 2023

Cases of fatal neurologic infections increase sharply

Facade of the Department of Health office in Manila. ( FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The nationwide incidence of acute meningitis and encephalitis syndromes (AMES), including highly fatal neurological infections, rose by nearly half this year to more than 4,600 cases.

Based on the latest figures from the Department of Health’s epidemiology bureau, the reported cases of AMES climbed to 4,640 from Jan. 1 to Oct. 14 this year, up by 46 percent from the 3,249 infections recorded in the same period last year.


Fatalities due to the disease rose by 48 percent to a total of 334 as of October. This brought the case fatality rate to 7.2 percent from 6.9 in the same period last year.


The main agents of AMES include viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, which could cause long-term severe symptoms and eventual damage to one’s neurologic functions. Anyone can develop the disease, but children under 5 years of age are the most susceptible to AMES.

READ: DOH: 1,146 COVID infections recorded from Oct. 16 to 22

READ: Influenza-like illnesses up by 49% – DOH

Symptoms of AMES include fever, headache, vomiting, and changes in mental status, aside from the usual signs of meningitis and encephalitis, such as seizures, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and unconsciousness.

Results of the initial autopsy conducted last month on 14-year-old Francis Jay Gumikib, the Grade 5 student who allegedly died days after he was slapped by his teacher, found that he might have had meningoencephalitis that caused a blood vessel in his brain to rupture.

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TAGS: Department of Health, neurologic infections

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