SA toddler has died from a suspected case of meningococcal disease.

Eighteen-month-old Mason Marks, from Mannum, east of Adelaide, was taken to the local hospital on Sunday before being airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

He died at the Royal Adelaide just seven hours after showing signs of the disease.

Mason’s mother, Caitlyn, told 9NEWS “she doesn’t want this to be real”.

“Mason was an amazing little man who will forever be in everyone’s hearts,” she said.

“He was taken away too soon by a horrible disease that took his life in a matter of seven hours.”

Mason’s aunt, Racheal Byers, started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the family to raise funds for his funeral.

“No words can begin to describe the heartache and sorrow we are experiencing at the sudden loss of Mason Harvey,” she wrote.

“He was a beautiful bubbly little boy.

“A son to my sister Caitlyn and Ryan. A grandson to my mother Mandy and Tim and Julie.

“He was a nephew to his aunties and uncles, and a cousin.

“Mason was loved by all that knew him. He had a cheeky smile and an infectious laugh.

“Mason fell ill with what was suspected meningococcal disease (and) was rushed to Mannum Hospital in which the excellent team of doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to save his life.”

“This has happened so suddenly and we hope by raising some funds we can take the stress off the family an allow them to focus on grieving. We aim to give him the most beautiful and heart felt good bye. This little boy will forever hold a place in our hearts.”

SA Health are waiting for tests results from this morning to confirm the disease.

An SA Health spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts are with the child’s family and we urge people to respect their privacy at this time.”

In November last year experts were sharing their concerns over the rise in the number of W strain cases of meningococcal.

Sadly last November a toddler passed away from meningococcal B strain.

SYMPTOMS 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

If anyone suspects meningococcal disease, they should see a doctor immediately and return if symptoms worsen.

In Australia there are vaccines available for each of the 5 main strains of the disease:

Meningococcal C – vaccine protects against meningococcal group C disease. It is recommended for all children at the age of 12 months (as part of the free National Immunisation Program). It is also suitable for teenagers and adults. Contact your GP for more information.

Meningococcal B – vaccine launched in Australia March 2014 which is available by private script from your doctor. This vaccine is not yet subsidised by the Government. For infants, the vaccine is given in four doses – at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months of age. For children over 12 months, teenagers and adults, the vaccine is given in two doses approximately 2 months apart (for the precise timing, check with your GP). Possible side effects are a mild to moderate fever (as well as a sore arm), so your doctor may recommend giving paracetamol at the same time to babies and children under 5.

Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine – is a combination vaccine and protects against groups A, C, Y and W. See your doctor for advice as this is generally recommended when travelling overseas to certain areas. This vaccine is not subsidised by the Government.

Please be aware of the symptoms.

Our thoughts are with the family.

Share your comments below.

Image via Gofundme

  • so sad and sometimes the symptoms just look like you are getting a cold and therefore hard to distinguish


  • This is such a frightening disease with the speed it takes over and how awful the result it. Every parent I know lives in fear of it. My heart goes out to this family.


  • Meningococcal acts so quickly that its frightening. PLEASE don’t delay if anyone in your family displays these symptoms. It doesn’t only target children.


  • Why aren’t people listening when the professionals tell them to vaccinate their children?!?!


  • A child can go to bed healthy and wake up with advanced signs of illness within a couple of hours. Do we rush a baby/child to hospital as soon as they have signs of a high temprature which some babies/children suffer every time th are getting a new tooth?


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