Public health warning after three cases 0f meningococcal infection have been diagnosed in SA in the past week.
There have been 11 cases seen so far this year, ranging from a one-year-old to a 94-year-old, The Advertiser reports.
SA Health says while the infection is most common among children under two and people aged between 16 and 25, it can affect anyone at any age.
The bacteria can be 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.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said with the colder weather now here it is important to be alert for diseases like meningococcal infection.
“While it is a rare disease, we have already seen 11 cases this year,” he said.
“I urge parents especially to seek medical assistance if they see any signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease.”
SA Health Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips said the 11 cases so far this year compares with seven at the same time last year and 30 for all of 2015.
“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,” he said.
“Meningococcal infection is rare, but it becomes more common when there are more respiratory infections around, such as influenza.
“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.”
The meningococcal C vaccine is available through the National Immunisation Program, while the meningococcal B vaccine is available from GPs.
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