Meningococcal disease warning

November 27, 2022 9:19 pm in by

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Parents and young people are being urged to understand the symptoms of meningococcal disease, after a case was detected in the state’s north.

A 24-year-old man has been diagnosed with invasive meningococcal disease and is currently hospitalised and receiving treatment.

Public Health says it is working with the man and his family to ensure they and other close contacts are promptly managed to minimise the risk of further infections. The strain of the meningococcal bacterium was serogroup B and the third case of meningococcal disease in Tasmania this year.

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Approximately 1 in 10 people have meningococcal bacteria living naturally in the back of their nose and throat. However, in a small number of people, serious strains of the bacteria can invade the body and cause illness, known as invasive meningococcal disease.

The symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, severe headache, confusion, severe muscle pain, and rash. People with meningococcal disease can go from feeling well to being extremely unwell very quickly.

Babies and infants may not have these symptoms but can be unsettled or drowsy, pale or blotchy, floppy or not feeding.

Vaccination against the meningococcal A, C, W and Y strains is routinely recommended and provided free as part of the National Immunisation Program for children aged 12 months and as part of the school-based program for students in year 10.

A vaccine is available to protect against the meningococcal B strain for children from 6 weeks of age. This vaccine is free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants. Others wishing to protect themselves or their family against meningococcal B can receive the vaccine through their General Practitioner with a private script.

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If you suspect you or someone you care for may have contracted meningococcal disease, seek emergency medical care immediately.


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