Shanghai health authorities have confirmed that no type C meningitis patients have been found there, and the number of cases of other forms of meningitis is smaller than last year.
"Shanghai has made full preparations for any possible outbreak, including distribution of vaccines, training of medical workers and publicity of prevention information," said local health bureau official Wang Panshi.
The city's public health center has drawn up an emergency plan to pre-empt the disease striking, said its deputy director, Lu Hongzhou, adding that 99 percent of children in Shanghai have been vaccinated.
According to the Ministry of Health, 258 cases of meningitis were reported nationwide in January, with 16 reported deaths. The eastern provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu reported 61 and 15 cases respectively.
Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and can have a number of different causes, including both bacteria and viruses. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and intense headache, and some forms of bacterial meningitis (including type C) are contagious through close contact via respiratory secretions.
(Xinhua New Agency February 5, 2005)