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Published On: Wed, Oct 17th, 2012

MSC Orchestra crewmember, Ermandiasa I Gede, dies from bacterial meningitis

Nine days after initial reports of four crewmembers contracting a serious form of bacterial meninigitis, a 32-year-old Indonesian crew member died Tuesday Oct. 16 at a Livorno, Italy hospital.

The crewmember, identified as Ermandiasa I Gede died Tuesday despite intensive attempts to save him since he was hospitalized on October 7.

Acording to a report in Cruise Critic today:

“The company is closely following the condition of these [three] crew members,” an MSC statement said. “One of them left the hospital today and went back home, having almost completely recovered. The other two are still recovering in hospital, in Livorno and their condition is gradually improving.”

More specifically, a 47-year-old Italian waiter from the ship remains on life support, though “his condition has improved markedly in recent days,” while a 26-year-old Brazilian and 32-year-old Filipino crewmember are gradually recovering from the illness.

Health authorities say that the form of the disease is meningococcal meningitis, a serious, potentially lethal infection of the lining of the brain and the spinal cord.

MSC Orchestra Public domain image/Ömür Tanyel

According to the Cruise Critic report, all passengers (2,718)  and crew (967) were given the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, as prophylaxis against the infection.

MSC Orchestra is a cruise ship that was built in 2007 for MSC Cruises. She is the second ship of the Musica class. She can accommodate 2,550 passengers in 1,275 cabins. Her crew complement is approximately 990.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rashseen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.

Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to person through respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.

Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease.

If you have close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, see your doctor for prophylactic antibiotics.

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating disease with epidemic potential. This disease is considered a medical emergency and if you have the classic symptoms see your health care professional. It can be treated with antibiotics, but without delay.

Meningococcal meningitis can be prevented with vaccination.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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