Infant recovering in hospital from meningococcal, as cases increase in WA

Infant recovering in hospital from meningococcal, as cases increase in WA

AN INFANT is recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with the W strain of meningococcal disease.

It is the 42nd case of meningococcal reported in WA this year.

A Department of Health spokesperson said the disease usually occurred more commonly in winter and spring and most cases this year have been reported since July.

“The Department of Health routinely identifies the close contacts of all notified cases of meningococcal disease and provides them with information, and, where appropriate, antibiotics and a vaccine,” the spokesperson said.

“This is to minimise the chance of further spread of the organism to others, should one or more of the contacts be carrying the strain that caused disease.”

The incidence of the disease decreased significantly in WA – down from a peak of 86 cases in 2000 to a low of 16 cases in 2013 – but is now increasing again due to the emergence of new virulent strains of serogroup W, and to a lesser extent serogroup Y, meningococcal bacteria.

In 2016, a total of 23 meningococcal cases were reported in WA. There have now been 42 cases to date in 2017, comprising 20 strains of W, 8 strains of Y, 12 strains of B, and one strain of C infection. In one case the strain could not be determined.

The number of W and Y cases are well above the long term average of less than one case per year.

Meningococcal symptoms

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.

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