Home » Meningococcal Meningitis Case Identified in Colombo District Following Galle Prison Outbreak

Meningococcal Meningitis Case Identified in Colombo District Following Galle Prison Outbreak


A case of meningococcal meningitis, the bacterial disease responsible for recent inmate deaths at Galle Prison, has surfaced in the Colombo District. The patient, a 49-year-old man residing in Ja-Ela, works at an institution within the Ratmalana Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Division.

Currently admitted to the General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (KDU) Hospital due to illness, he has been referred to the Colombo National Hospital for further tests and treatment, stated Dr. J.M. Gunathilake, the Medical Officer of Health in Ratmalana. Dr. Gunathilake highlighted that around 30 close contacts of the patient at his workplace have undergone testing, and precautionary measures including antibiotic treatment have been initiated.

The recent case has spurred concerns, as Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe, the Media Spokesman of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), pointed out. He emphasized the need for prompt measures to control the potential spread of the disease, especially with schools scheduled to reopen in the coming days. Dr. Wijesinghe also stressed the importance of raising public awareness to prevent undue panic among parents and the general population.

However, the Epidemiology Unit highlighted that while meningococcal meningitis cases do occur annually in Sri Lanka, the general public should not become overly anxious about the disease. The unit reassured that the occurrence of these cases is not uncommon.

In a related context, the Galle Prison witnessed a tragic outbreak earlier in August, where two inmates lost their lives and several others were hospitalized due to an initially unidentified ailment. Subsequently, the cause was traced back to meningococcal meningitis, underscoring the need for effective prevention and management measures.


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