Latest case prompts Meningococcal disease reminder
After a recent case of meningococcal disease was recorded in the north, the public are asked to remain mindful that although rare, the disease still occurs in Tasmania.
Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious contagious disease caused by a bacterium (Neisseria meningitidis).
Vaccination, and early detection and treatment of cases, both save lives. Meningococcal disease can develop quickly, and it can be fatal. Anyone with suspected meningococcal infection needs to see a doctor immediately.
A 24-year-old man from the north of the state has been diagnosed with invasive meningococcal disease. He is currently hospitalised and receiving treatment.
Public Health Services is working with the man and his family to ensure they and other close contacts are promptly managed to minimise the risk of further infections.
The strain of the meningococcal bacterium was serogroup B. This is the third case of meningococcal disease and the third of serogroup B in Tasmania this year.
There is an average of 7 cases in Tasmania per year. The number of cases declined after the Meningococcal ACWY vaccination program that started in 2017.
Meningococcal disease is more common during winter and spring but can occur at any time in any place and affect people of any age. There has been an increase in cases of meningococcal disease notified nationally in recent months. Most cases are serogroup B.
Approximately 1 in 10 people have meningococcal bacteria living naturally in the back of their nose and throat. However, in a small number of people, serious strains of the bacteria can invade the body and cause illness, known as invasive meningococcal disease.
The symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, severe headache, confusion, severe muscle pain, and rash. People with meningococcal disease can go from feeling well to being extremely unwell very quickly.
Babies and infants may not have these symptoms but can be unsettled or drowsy, pale or blotchy, floppy or not feeding.
Vaccination against the meningococcal A, C, W and Y strains is routinely recommended and provided free as part of the National Immunisation Program for children aged 12 months and as part of the school-based program for students in year 10.
A vaccine is available to protect against the meningococcal B strain for children from 6 weeks of age. This vaccine is free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants. Others wishing to protect themselves or their family against meningococcal B can receive the vaccine through their General Practitioner with a private script.
If you suspect you or someone you care for may have contracted meningococcal disease, seek emergency medical care immediately.