A number of children suffering from symptoms of meningitis were taken off trains heading from Russia's south to Moscow, and two of them are in serious condition, a news report said Thursday.
Two children that were taken off a train traveling from Sochi to the Russian capital due to illness Tuesday have been diagnosed with meningitis, while eight more from the same train remain under medical supervision, RIA Novosti reported.
All the children affected are currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Kursk, an Emergency Situations Ministry representative said.
Cases of meningitis came into the spotlight after an outbreak in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don in early June killed two children and infected at least 55.
“We have a rather difficult epidemiological situation,” Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, who oversees health issues for the Cabinet, told journalists Thursday, according to Interfax.
“Teams of doctors are working all over [Russia] targeting this illness in particular, serous meningitis,” Golodets said.
Elsewhere this week, nine children returning from a Krasnodar children's camp on a different train were taken to a hospital in Voronezh.
Four of them are also feared to have infectious meningitis, chief regional epidemiologist Viktor Voronov said. He said the infected children, aged 8-14, are currently in stable condition and waiting for a confirmation of their diagnosis.
At the end of June, 37 children were hospitalized with various types of meningitis in Moscow, and at least three of them had serous meningitis, RIA Novosti reported. Other cases of serous meningitis were reported in a half-dozen other regions as well.
Galina Kozhevnikova, a doctor at the department of infectious disease at Moscow State Medical and Dental University, said at the time that the outbreaks of illnesses related to meningitis were not "unnatural or catastrophic" and that in a regular year several hundred cases of serous meningitis can be registered in Moscow alone.
Symptoms of serous meningitis typically include a temperature of 38 to 40 degrees Celsius and a headache. Patients may also have vomiting, muscle pains, diarrhea, abdominal pains and anxiety. The illness can be contracted through water, food, dirty hands, and sometimes by air in a crowd.