The public have been alerted to be on notice an apparent outbreak of meningitis in Durban.

According to a report by IOL, at least 40 pupils as well as doctors, nurses and teachers in Amanzimtoti have been placed on antibiotics to prevent them from contracting a “very infectious” strain of meningitis following the death of a 7-year-old boy last week.

Paediatrician Thesiga Reddy, one of the doctors who treated the boy at Kingsway Hospital, said he was admitted with a “unique” case of meningococcal meningitis, which was known to progress rapidly. Although it was easy to treat in the early stages, “the child was unconscious by the time he got to the hospital”.

The boy was given the required antibiotics, but once that form of meningitis was at an advanced stage there was always “a poor outcome”.

Reddy said given that meningococcal meningitis was highly infectious the department of health had been informed of the boy’s case and was investigating. He said no other cases had been reported.

Following the boy’s death schools in Amanzimtoti have warned parents to carefully monitor the health of their children. Over the past few days pupils have been sent home with letters explaining what medical red flags their parents should look out for.