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WA pre-schooler, adult with meningococcal

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Rebecca Gredley

A pre-school child and an adult have been diagnosed with meningococcal disease, bringing Western Australia's total cases to 19 this year.

The Department of Health said on Thursday the two cases were not linked and the patients were recovering in separate hospitals.

Their close contacts have been given information and, where appropriate, antibiotics and a vaccine to minimise the chance of the disease being spread.

Three people have died from meningococcal disease this year in WA - an adult in March, an adult in October and a young child in September.

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and/or membranes lining the spinal cord and brain, and occasionally other areas such as large joints.

The Department of Health said incidents of the disease had decreased in WA over the past decade, with around 20 cases reported each year, down from a peak of 86 cases in 2000.

Symptoms may include high fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion and severe muscle and joint pains. A spotty red-purple rash may accompany other symptoms.

A vaccine to protect against the serogroup C type of meningococcal disease is provided free to one-year-old children.

A vaccine against serogroup B, the most common type in WA, has recently become available on prescription and combination vaccines are also available to protect against other types of the organism.

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