Primary healthcare news, information & resources

Meningococcal disease is still out there - be aware

Taranaki medical officer of health Dr Jonathan Jarman has recently notified practices around the region of a cluster of cases of meningococcal disease in the region. This is a stark reminder that this devastating disease is still out there despite an apparent downward trend in incidence. 

The Ministry of Health tells us that "between 2007 and 2014 there have been between 43 and 132 cases of, and between 3 and 13 deaths from meningococcal disease each year in New Zealand, with an overall downward trend. The disease is more common in winter and spring." 

Symptoms of meningitis can develop suddenly and include:

  • a high fever
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • joint and muscle pains.

There can also be some more specific symptoms, such as:

  • a stiff neck
  • dislike of bright lights
  • vomiting
  • crying
  • refusal to feed (in infants)
  • a rash consisting of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises.

Being mindful of the symptoms and having a low threshold of suspicion can save lives. 

For more information visit the Ministy of Health website.  

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