A mum who warnd parents to be on the lookout for symptoms after her son was rushed to hospital due to meningococcal disease, is thankful to have her baby home.

Two months after contracting the deadly meningococcal disease, Mackay toddler, Eli Fapani, is back at home with his family.

Eli’s mother documented the recovery on social media after he was put on life support following a high temperature in October.

“When we went and saw the surgeon, he said that he’s a miracle baby and they don’t even understand how he came through the way he did without anything wrong with him,” the delighted mother said.


La Vonne Palmer from Mackay, told 7 News she took her 15-month-old son Eli to the local emergency department on Wednesday, after he woke up with a high temperature and a rash.

He was rushed to hospital and is being treated in intensive care in Townsville for meningococcal.

A spokesperson for Townsville Base Hospital said Eli is now in a stable condition.

Townsville Public Health Unit (TPHU) director Dr Steven Donohue said, “There was limited close contact with others and the risk to contacts and the broader community is very low.”

“At any given time, meningococcal bacteria are carried harmlessly at the back of the throat or in the nose in about 10 per cent of the population. While the bacteria can be spread via droplets from the nose or throat during coughing and sneezing, close and prolonged contact with a person who has the bacteria in their nose or throat is usually needed for the bacteria to spread to others”, he said.

Dr Donohue said it wasn’t easy to contract meningococcal disease.

The signs to look out for are: (via Meningococcal Australia)
• fever
• nausea/vomiting
• lack of energy
• tiredness/drowsiness
• confusion
• irritability or agitation
• a sore throat

Other symptoms include

•stiff or painful neck
•sensitivity to light
•twitching or convulsions

The distinctive meningococcal rash (indicating bleeding into the skin) can be a critical symptom of deadly septicaemia, along with a high fever.

The rash may start with a simple spot or blister anywhere on the body, then may progress quickly to red pinpricks like small mosquito bites, and/or spread quickly into purple bruise like blotches. It’s important not to wait until a rash appears before seeking treatment, as the meningococcal rash signifies a critical stage of the disease.

NSW Health Director, Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said last month that late winter/early spring was the season when meningococcal disease tended to be most prevalent, although cases presented all year round.

“Most cases occur among infants, young children, teenagers and young adults although people of any age can be infected,” Dr Sheppeard said.

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  • So glad she is getting the best of care. Meningococcal is so insidious. Parents can bring their child to emergency in a hospital and be diagnosed with a cold or cough and slight fever and be sent home with advice to give Panadol which is quite the right thing to do . Then MENINGOCOCCAL CAN develop after the child goes home. It is up to us parents to be ever so vigilant after returning home. Doctors cannot treat signs and symptoms that are not there.


  • Hope this child is OK now. What a terrible shock and scare for everyone involved.


  • Such a horrifying situation for any parent to be in. Glad she’s gone public so other parents are warned and so we know what to look for. Hope bub makes a full speedy recovery


  • This is something that absolutely terrifies me. Thanks for the article.


  • how scary but thanks for the pics so we know what to look for! Speedy recovery little one!


  • Wishing the little one all he best,hope he fully recovers.


  • That looks so painful for the poor child. I hope he recovers with no further problems. I really feel for the family at this devastating time!


  • How scary !
    Glad Eli is stable. Hope & pray he makes a full recovery.


  • This disease is very scary. I hope it can be eradicated.


  • It seems a baby can appear to be healthy, sleep longer than normal and be very ill when he/she wakes up.


  • Poor little one. This is such a terrible disease and can cause such awful deformities due to the extremities dying as this little one seems to be in the process of with such dark finger tips.


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