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Large meningitis outbreak reported in the Gaza Strip

By Mason White 6:51 PM February 10, 2013
Palestinian prison 

By: John Roberts
A large meningitis outbreak has been reported in the Palestinian controlled Gaza Strip, according to health officials in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is transferring hundreds of prisoners to hospitals for tests due to growing fears of an outbreak of meningitis, the local Palestinian newspaper has reported.

A man jailed by the Hamas government died from meningitis Friday morning, the Interior Ministry said and now the detainees are being admitted to al-Shifa Hospital for tests before being transferred to other prisons.

Officials familiar with the decision, told the newspaper that the decision to transfer detainees for tests was a caution in the light of the death, not because more cases were confirmed.

The government in Gaza however, denied having any prisoners tested.
On Friday Mahrous Fathi Nassar, 37, died of meningitis at the hospital, a spokesperson for the hospital said.

Human rights groups have expressed alarm at the number of Palestinian deaths in prisons.
The death of 52-year-old Khamis Atef Derbas several months ago, who was being held at Ansar prison in Gaza City for unpaid debts, prompted an official investigation.

Derbas’ family claimed that he died due to medical negligence and poor conditions in prison, according to rights group al-Haq.
Earlier, 27-year-old, Mohammad Said Al-Zaqzouq died in police custody in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.
Police said he committed suicide.