A mother’s worst fears were realised when she made the discovery that her baby’s teething symptoms was actually meningococcal disease.

Baby Violet was flown to Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital from regional South Australia when her parents discovered red spots on her stomach and legs.

Mother Tiffany Henderson told 9 News she feared that her seven-month-old daughter could have been left with no legs.

Purple blotches coated Violet’s legs and torso, as she was diagnosed with meningococcal B.

Violet’s unwillingness to eat quickly developed into other symptoms of meningococcal disease.

‘She started to get really purple lips, they got really dark purple, they started to get really dry and cracked and she started to just go limp and it was within five minutes that happened,’ Ms Henderson said.

The family was flown 563km to Women’s and Children’s Hospital, fighting against the clock to properly diagnose and treat which specific strain of the disease she had.

Violet spent five days in intensive care receiving life-saving treatment, and was released from hospital after two weeks of care.

Eliza Ault-Connell from Meningococcal Australia told Daily Mail Australia that time is the key when diagnosing meningococcal disease.

‘We’ve seen people at breakfast be dead by dinner,’ she says.

‘You literally see rashes develop before their eyes.’


Symptoms in babies and young children

Symptoms of meningococcal disease in infants and young children can include:
refusing to feed
irritability, fretfulness
grunting or moaning
extreme tiredness or floppiness
dislike of being handled
nausea or vomiting
turning away from light (photophobia)
convulsions (fits) or twitching
rash of red or purple pinprick spots or larger bruises.

Symptoms in older children and adults

Symptoms of meningococcal disease in older children and adults can include:
loss of appetite
neck stiffness
discomfort when looking at bright lights (photophobia)
nausea and/or vomiting
aching or sore muscles
painful or swollen joints
difficulty walking
general malaise
moaning, unintelligible speech
rash of red or purple pinprick spots or larger bruises.

Share your comments below

We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.
  • Every single time my kids were cranky or upset that is all I heard from people. “Oh I bet they are teething”… Never just put things down to teething.
    How very scary


  • There is such a huge range of symptoms, which when one appears separately hours before the others you would never suspect anything serious


  • Poor little thing- good thing they acted fast! I’m so glad she’s okay!


  • Thank God this little one was diagnosed and treated in time !


  • How lucky that this little one survived. And don’t get complacent – I heard of a woman in her late 70’s dying of this insidious disease. One must be vigilant always.


  • These are the sort of facts that should be seen in Drs waiting rooms ad to public in general, raising awareness and immunisation are better than your child contractig such a life threatening disease. Mouth of Mums covers lots of good and understadable information for young Mums in many areas so hank you-


  • Lucky she is fine


  • How frightening for them, I’m glad she’s come out of it.


  • so pleased she managed to survive. very scary for the parents.


  • Oh, so scary to see. They must have been two terrible weeks for the family. Glad the little Violet is finally back home.


Post a comment
Add a photo
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by your browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating