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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Meningitis Outbreak in Far East, Urals

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East -- One hundred children have been hospitalized with viral meningitis in two outbreaks, officials said Wednesday.

Seventy-seven children have fallen ill in the past three weeks in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far East after drinking city water, said Yury Luzin, the city's chief public health doctor.

He blamed leaks in pipes that allowed contamination of the water supply. Doctors warned residents to use only boiled water for drinking and washing dishes. The rate of infection has slowed as city workers add more chlorine to the water supply, Luzin said.

Another outbreak of meningitis was reported in Verkhnyaya Sinyachikha in the Sverdlovsk region in the Ural Mountains. Twenty-three children were hospitalized, Itar-Tass reported, citing Emergency Situations Ministry officials. They blamed swimming in contaminated water.

Meningitis is a potentially fatal infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.