Meningococcal case confirmed in Toowoomba

Meningococcal, which causes a red rash, has been reported in the Whitsundays.
Meningococcal, which causes a red rash, has been reported in the Whitsundays.

UPDATE: The Darling Downs Public Health Unit has moved to allay community concerns after the state's sixth case of the potentially deadly meningococcal disease was confirmed in Toowoomba.

DDPHU director Dr Penny Hutchinson said the disease was "difficult to contract" unless there had been "close and prolonged contact" with an infected person.

Dr Hutchinson said DDPHU had followed up with all high-risk contacts of the case and the adult was undergoing "appropriate treatment and advice".

No other details of the patient were released.

"Antibiotics clear the meningococcal bacteria from anyone who might be carrying it in their nose or throat and prevent them from passing it onto someone else who may develop disease," Dr Hutchinson said.

"Around 10 per cent of people carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and noses without experiencing any symptoms.

"It is important to emphasise that this is not a virus, and it does not spread easily.

"Very few people go on to develop the disease, and most of these make a complete recovery."

The adult undergoing treatment is the sixth person to be diagnosed in the past two weeks.

The bacteria is spread via droplets from the nose or throat by sneezing and coughing.

Symptoms include a high fever, severe headaches, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, drowsiness and a rash that appears on the skin rapidly.

Babies may have other symptoms including becoming irritable, refusing to eat, lethargy, and dislike of being picked up.

"Anyone with these symptoms, in particular a rapidly spreading bruise-like rash, should seek prompt medical adssessment," Dr Hutchinson said.

EARLIER: A SIXTH case of meningococcal has been diagnosed in Queensland.

Queensland Health has confirmed a Toowoomba adult has been diagnosed with the potentially deadly infection.

It comes amid a string of mostly unrelated cases among young children.

Four children are recovering at Lady Cilento Children's hospital, including a young boy who was admitted on December 31.

One day later three children from the same family, two siblings and a cousin, also presented at the hospital with the infection.

Yesterday, a six-year-old boy was diagnosed at Cairns Hospital.

All four children being treated in Brisbane have been diagnosed with strain B of the disease, which is vaccine-preventable but the vaccine, Bexsero, is only available on the private market and is out of stock.

The strain of the disease which has infected the other two cases remains unknown, with test results not expected day for a few days.

Topics:  editors picks meningacoccal

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