Meningococcal Case In NW

Public Health Services has been responding to a single case of Meningococcal Disease in a pre-school aged child from the North West of the State.

The child who attends Ulverstone Child Care Centre was diagnosed with the disease late Friday 18 December. The child is currently in a stable condition at the Royal Hobart Hospital and there is no increased risk in the wider community.

Public Health Services worked over the weekend to provide information and advice to the family and close contacts of the child. The contacts included family members, several staff and children who attend the centre.

Last night an information sheet was sent to all parents of children who attend the Centre advising them of the situation.

The identified close contacts have been advised to have antibiotic treatment to clear any Meningococcal bacteria they might be carrying. This is to help prevent spread to others.

The chance of a close contact also developing the disease is very low.

All children can continue to attend centre and visit other places. There is no need for isolation or quarantine of people who are close contacts of a person with meningococcal disease.

The strain of the Meningococcal bacteria is yet to be identified.

Anyone from the Ulverstone community seeking further information is asked to contact the Public Health Hotline – Tasmania on 1800 671 738 (Option 5) to speak to a Clinical Nurse Consultant.

Background

  • Meningococcal Disease is mainly spread through droplets transmitted from the mouth and nose through coughing, sneezing, or close personal contact.
  • Around one in every 10 people carry the bacteria in their throat without it causing problems.
  • There are several strains of the bacteria and there are vaccines against some but not all of these.
  • It can be several days before the strain of the Meningococcal bacteria is identified.
  • This is the third case in Tasmania in 2020. Numbers peaked in 2017 at 16 cases, which subsequently dropped to 11 cases in 2018, and decreased further to 6 in 2019.
  • Immunisation against some of the more common strains of Meningococcal are a part of the national immunisation schedule for children and other at higher risk. All people should make sure they are up to date with their recommend vaccines.