Perth: Child diagnosed with meningococcal

Stock pic.
Stock pic.

A young child has become the fourth person diagnosed with meningococcal disease in Western Australia in 2019.

They are the first to be diagnosed with the serogroup B strain.

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, the WA Health Department says.

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.

Three adults were hospitalised due to being infected with the serogroup W strain earlier this month.

There were 41 cases of the potentially deadly disease reported in 2018, including 30 serogroup W, eight serogroup B and three serogroup Y meningococcal infections.

Meningococcal disease in WA peaked at 86 cases in 2000 and dropped to 16 in 2013.

A total of 46 cases were notified in WA in 2017, double the number reported in 2016 and the most in any year since 2005.

As a result of the increase in serogroup W and Y disease in WA over the past three years, a funded State-wide meningococcal ACWY vaccination program for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years started in 2017.

The State-funded meningococcal ACWY vaccine program was expanded to include children aged one to four-years-old in January this year.