Tragic suspected meningococcal disease death
23rd October 2018
The 16-year-old male from Kerikeri, who had been among 190 people attending the St John youth camp on Motutapu Island this weekend, died in Auckland City Hospital on Saturday of suspected meningococcal disease.
“This is very tragic for the family of the young man who died, and for everyone at the camp,” offered Medical Officer of Health, Dr Simon Baker.
“We acknowledge the young people, their families and the staff at the camp will also be feeling very upset and anxious.”
Auckland Regional Public Health Service went to Motutapu to provide protective antibiotics and assess the risk to others, however only a few people were considered to be “close contacts” and at risk of infection.
Northland’s Public Health Nurses have been talking to the family about who else might have been at risk in the previous seven days in which the young man was infectious. Those who were in close contact with the young man have been provided with antibiotics.
“Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, and can be difficult to diagnose, so we are providing information to the young people and parents so they can be alert for symptoms,” Baker said.
“It can look like the flu early on but quickly gets much worse. It is important to get early treatment.”
Symptoms included some or all of the following: fever; headache; vomiting; feeling sleepy, confused and delirious; loss of consciousness; joint pains; aching muscles; stiff neck; dislike of bright lights; or rashes, purple or red spots, or bruises.
Other symptoms in babies and infants include being unsettled, floppy or irritable, refusing drinks and feeds, and becoming harder to wake.
Children who have previously received meningococcal vaccination can still get meningococcal disease because the vaccine does not protect against all types of meningococcal bacteria. Therefore, be on the lookout for signs or symptoms of meningococcal illness even if your child has previously been vaccinated.
“If you or anyone you know has these symptoms, don’t wait.”
People should phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 or visit a doctor. If they are concerned
The following website also has useful information.
Ministry of Health http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/meningococcal