South Australians Advised To Be Aware Of Signs With Meningococcal Infection

South Australians Advised To Be Aware Of Signs With Meningococcal Infection

South Australia Minister for Health Jack Snelling

Meningococcal Warning

Victor P Taffa

SA Health is urging South Australians to be aware of the signs of meningococcal infection, after three people were diagnosed with the disease in the past week.

“With the colder months now upon us, it’s important South Australians know what to look out for with diseases like meningococcal.” Minister for Health Jack Snelling said.

“While it is a rare disease, we have already seen 11 cases this year.”

“I urge parents especially to seek medical assistance if they see any signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease.” Minister for Health Jack Snelling said.

While the infection is most common among children under two years old and people aged between 16 and 25, it can affect anyone at any age.

“So far this year there has been 11 cases of meningococcal infection compared with seven cases at the same time in 2015 and a total of 30 for the year.” Chief Medical Officer for SA Health Professor Paddy Phillips said.

“In the past week one male and two females have fallen ill with the disease, bringing the number of meningococcal infection cases recorded in May to four, almost a third of our total cases.”

There have been 11 cases seen so far this year, ranging from a 1-year-old to a 94-year-old.

“Meningococcal infection is rare, but it becomes more common when there are more respiratory infections around, such as influenza.” Professor Phillips said.

“Symptoms of meningococcal infection may include fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and sore muscles, followed in some cases by a rash of red and purple spots.”

“Babies or young children with meningococcal infection may also be irritable, refuse feeds or be difficult to wake.” Professor Phillips said.

Background

The meningococcus bacteria are carried around in the nose and throat of around 10 % of the population, but are usually harmless.

The bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact and in some situations people can develop invasive meningococcal disease which can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections.

When a case of meningococcal infection is reported, SA Health will identify people who may have been in contact with the patient to provide them information about what symptoms to look out for.

People who may be particularly at risk will be given antibiotic chemoprophylaxis as a preventative measure.

The meningococcal C vaccine is available through the National Immunisation Program, while the meningococcal B vaccine is available from GPs.