Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga provincial government has ordered the Mbombela municipality to retract its warning to the public about outbreaks of meningitis and hepatitis in the area.

This follows a warning by the municipality about the disputed outbreak of the two diseases in its area, something that has caused panic in the community.

The warning read: "There is an outbreak of hepatitis A and meningitis around White River and Nelspruit. If one experiences one or more of symptoms like headache, fever, neck stiffness and fatigue, please consult the nearest clinic, hospital or your doctor."

Provincial health department spokesman Mpho Gabashane said: "We only saw the warning statement released by the municipality, and at the moment we are yet to receive a formal report."

There were also reports that a 10-month-old baby died last week as a result of meningococcal (bacterial meningitis) in the Nelspruit Medi-Clinic but clinic authorities said this could not be confirmed.

"We are aware of the panic about an outbreak of meningitis but we cannot confirm this since no records of the ailment have been reported to us," Nelspruit MediClinic spokesman Robin Baard said yesterday.

Mbombela municipal spokesman Bessie Pienaar said the meningitis alert was isolated and not an outbreak as earlier reported.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged the health authorities to alert people timeously when something this dangerous happens.

"This would make people take special care against illnesses as prevention is better than cure," said the DA's Anthony Bernadie.