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Student hospitalised with meningococcal

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/09/2016 Cleo Mary Fraser

A student at a South Island school is being treated in hospital for meningococcal disease.

Health authorities say the Mount Aspiring College student was taken to Dunedin Hospital from Wanaka on Monday.

A number of people who came in close contact with the student have been offered an antibiotic to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Medical officer of health for Otago/Southland Dr Marion Poore says there isn't an increased risk to staff and students "generally".

However, it's important everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease to ensure an early diagnosis, she says.

Mount Aspiring School principal Wayne Bosley says the school had been advised to keep "business as usual".

"Our key task is to inform you as parents and to reassure and support the wider student body," he wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

"Our thoughts and best wishes are with the student and her family. We wish her a speedy recovery."

Meningococcal disease is not easily transmitted from person to person and is only transmitted by close personal contact that allows the bacteria to pass from the nose and throat of one person to another.

The disease can usually be treated successfully if it is diagnosed early but on rare occasions it can cause an invasive life threatening illness.

Symptoms include a fever, a skin rash (reddish purple blotchy spots or bruising from bleeding into the skin), headaches, nausea, neck stiffness and irritation by bright light. Anyone suffering these symptoms should contact a doctor.

The incubation period can be up to 10 days but is usually three to four.

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