Fears as child comes down with third meningococcal ‘W’ case in WA this week

Stock image.
Stock image.

A YOUNG child is recovering in hospital after becoming the third patient diagnosed with the potentially deadly W strain of meningococcal disease in Perth this week.

The Department of Health says 19 cases of meningococcal have been diagnosed in WA this year, including 11 of the W strain, with the bacterial infection on the rise since falling to a low of 16 cases in 2013.

Meningococcal causes death in five to 10 per cent of cases with Tasmania, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA running free vaccination programs for people aged 15 to 19 in 2017 and 2018.

Details of where 15-19 year-olds can access the meningococcal ACWY vaccine are available at: http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/J_M/Meningococcal-vaccine 

Symtoms include:

High fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, and severe muscle and joint pains.

Young children may not complain of symptoms, so fever, pale or blotchy complexion, vomiting, lethargy (blank staring, floppiness, inactivity, being hard to wake, or poor feeding) and rash are important signs.

Sometimes – but not always – symptoms may be accompanied by the appearance of a spotty red-purple rash that looks like small bleeding points beneath the skin or bruises.

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