Meningococcal death confirmed

All children showing symptoms of meningococcal should be taken to a doctor.
All children showing symptoms of meningococcal should be taken to a doctor. Alena Root

THE sickness that tragically struck down a four-year-old girl last Saturday was officially confirmed as meningococcal disease yesterday.

When the girl died, indications were that meningococcal was the “probable cause of her illness” but further tests were required to make sure.

Queensland Health public health physician Margaret Young said the tragic death the child was a reminder for the Fraser Coast community to be alert to the symptoms of the disease, “but not alarmed”.

“It is important to emphasise that this is not a virus, it is not easy to catch and it does not spread easily,” she said.

Meningococcal disease is spread by bacteria in droplets from the nose or throat shed during coughing and sneezing, but close and prolonged contact with a carrier is usually needed to become infected.

About 10% of people carried meningococcal bacteria in their throats and noses without having any symptoms, Dr Young said, and few people went on to develop the disease but most that did made a complete recovery.

She said anyone showing any symptoms of the disease, in particular a rapidly spreading bruise-like rash, should be taken promptly for medical assessment.

Topics:  meningococcal queensland health

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