NSW Health’s Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky
Sheppeard, said cases normally start to increase towards the end of flu season
when people’s immune systems are weaker from viruses.
disease is a rare but serious bacterial infection that can cause death within
hours and it’s hard to identify, so the more symptoms people know about, the
better,” said Dr Sheppeard.
“Often it can mimic other common illnesses, so be aware nearer spring
that nausea symptoms, vomiting, neck stiffness, joint pain, light sensitivity,
or a sudden fever, could be something else.
“Most people normally associate meningococcal disease with a rash of red-purple spots or bruises but in some cases a rash doesn’t appear, or it could
be the last symptom to take shape.”
infection does not spread easily. It is spread by secretions from the nose and
throat of a person who is carrying the bacteria. Close and prolonged contact is
needed to pass it on.
more commonly occurs in people aged between 15-24 years as they tend to be
involved in more intimate social activities such as kissing, and children aged
under 5 years, but it can affect anyone,” said Dr Sheppeard.
is the best means of protection against meningococcal disease. Vaccination for meningococcal disease types A, C, W
and Y, is available on the National Immunisation Program for infants at 12
months of age and adolescents in Year 10.
Any adolescents aged 15 to 19 years who miss the
vaccine in school are eligible for a free vaccine from their GP. However, as
there are several strains of meningococcal disease, and vaccination does not
cover all strains, even vaccinated people need to be on the lookout for
latest Annual Immunisation Report shows vaccination rates in NSW are at their
highest level ever, with close to 95 per cent of five year olds fully
NSW Government will invest around $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation
Program Budget, including Commonwealth and State vaccines.