A BABY has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease in the second case reported in Western Australia in a week.
The Health Department says the infant is recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with the B serogroup strain of the bacteria.
Six people died and 46 cases of meningococcal occurred in WA during 2017, double the number reported in 2016, with the increase attributed to new, virulent strains of serogroup W and Y.
Meningococcal is an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain, and occasionally of other sites, such as the throat or large joints.
The bacterium is contained in droplets discharged when coughing or sneezing but cannot be spread by saliva and does not survive more than a few seconds in the environment.
A state-funded vaccine for the strains A, C, W and Y is available for those aged 15 to 19, with those who missed out at school able to get a free jab from their GP, community health clinics and some university health centres.