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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

“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.

Share your comments below.

Image via meningococcal.org

  • It’s always helpful to be reminded of what symptoms to be aware of. Awful illness.

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  • This disease really scares me!

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  • This is a scary disease .

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  • How very scary. I hope there a no more cases

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  • so scary….fingers crossed the frequency of diagnosis slows down

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  • Such a nasty infection. I really hope that there are no more cases.

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  • Our youngest grandchild presented with a rash & high fever a few weeks ago when his parents phoned for a home Dr. They were told to take him immediately to hospital by the Dr who attended & fortunately after several hours given the all clear in hospital. Thankfully Dr’s are prepared for the risk of this infection in babies & respond so quickly if the symptoms are present.

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  • Both vaccinations should be available via the Immunisation Program.
    How are doctors and hospitals going to cope if a parent decided to seek treatment before enough symptoms are present in a baby or young child.
    It can be slow to show up by which time it is critical, or can be rapid – not noticed quickly enough if they are heavy sleepers.

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  • This is very scary. It’s always good to be aware of where this disease is occurring.

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  • Such a scary illness! I hope the campaign for the vaccination will become even stronger now.

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  • A scary illness. My ex brother in law contracted it and lost his legs and fingers due to it. Luckily he didn’t lose his life

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  • Wow, haven’t seen meningococcal in the news for such a long time. I remember the symptoms tho

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  • Very scary!

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  • So scary. I hope they get a handle on the outbreak.

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