PRO/EDR> Meningitis, meningococcal – Australia (02): (NS) fatal, sg B, alert, RFI


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sun 4 Jun 2023 1:06 PM AEST
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin, The Daily Telegraph report [edited]

NSW [New South Wales] Health has urged people to be on alert for
symptoms of meningococcal disease after a man died and 3 new cases
were diagnosed in the state.

A Sydney man in his 50s has died from the disease, while 2 Sydney
teenagers and a person in their sixties from the Central Coast are
recovering. None of the cases are believed to be linked.

NSW Health Director Communicable Diseases Dr Christine Selvey said
meningococcal disease was rare with babies, toddlers, teenagers, and
young adults being at highest risk.

“Meningococcal disease can be very serious, but early treatment is
lifesaving so it is important that symptoms are recognised early,” Dr
Selvey said. “We are urging the NSW community to be vigilant for
symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated, and to seek medical
assistance early if they are concerned.”

Symptoms of meningococcal disease: sudden onset of fever; headache;
neck stiffness; tiredness; joint or limb pain; dislike of bright
lights; nausea and vomiting; high-pitched crying in babies; and a rash
of red-purple spots or bruises, which may appear after the other
symptoms or late in the disease progression.

NSW Health said the disease can be fatal within hours if left
untreated, with symptoms to look out for including sudden onset of
fever, headache, neck stiffness, tiredness, joint or limb pain,
dislike of bright lights, and nausea and vomiting. Dr Selvey said to
call triple-0 if symptoms rapidly worsen, or go to a hospital
emergency department.

There have been 19 meningococcal disease cases in NSW this year
[2023], the majority being due to the meningococcal B strain of the

Children under 5 years and 15 to 25-year-olds are at the greatest risk
of contracting the disease.

Under the National Immunisation Program, meningococcal ACWY (Men ACWY)
vaccine is provided free for babies at 12 months, adolescents, and
people of all ages with certain medical conditions. In NSW, the
adolescent dose is delivered through the school vaccination program in
Year 10. A meningococcal B vaccine is available to children from 6
weeks of age to reduce the risk of infection from this strain of the
disease. Aboriginal infants and people with certain medical conditions
are eligible for free access to this vaccine under the National
Immunisation Program.

More information on meningococcal disease can be found on the NSW
Health website

[Byline: Elliott Stewart]

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