NSW Health wishes to advise that meningococcal disease cases are above average for this time of year. A recent cluster of 4 cases, including two deaths, have been in the Illawarra Shoalhaven area. A woman in her late teens from Ulladulla has recently died from meningococcal disease after attending the Spilt Milk festival in Canberra on 26 November 2022. NSW Health are urging parents and young people to be alert to the symptoms of meningococcal disease and act immediately if they appear.
Meningococcal disease symptoms can appear suddenly and become very serious very quickly. NSW Health are urging everyone not to discount symptoms when they appear or assume it may be just a mild infection; anyone who suspects meningococcal disease, has been encouraged not to wait for the rash and to see a doctor immediately.
While it is a well-known symptom of meningococcal disease, the rash does not always occur, or may present late in the illness.
For more information on vaccination or symptoms, transmission, risks and treatment of Meningococcal, see the NSW Health website.
Any person who wants to protect themselves against invasive meningococcal disease can receive MenACWY and MenB vaccines from as early as 6 weeks of age. The National Immunisation Program (NIP) includes meningococcal vaccination for certain groups and meningococcal vaccines are also available via private prescription for those who are not eligible for a government funded vaccine.
Vaccine Groups eligible for free vaccine
Meningococcal ACWY vaccine – All children at 12 months of age and children aged 15-19 years Meningococcal B vaccine – Aboriginal children < 2 years of age
Both vaccines – People with certain medical conditions that cause increased risk of infection including: asplenia, hyposplenia, complement deficiency and those receiving eculizumab treatment.