News National WA teenager dies of meningococcal disease

WA teenager dies of meningococcal disease

Lloyd Dunham died at Royal Hobart Hospital on Saturday while visiting family in Tasmania.
Lloyd Dunham died at Royal Hobart Hospital on Saturday while visiting family in Tasmania. Photo: Facebook / Lloyd Dunham
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A West Australian teenager has died from a meningococcal infection while holidaying in Tasmania.

Lloyd Dunham, 19, from Albany in WA’s Great Southern, was visiting family in Hobart when he suddenly died on Saturday.

The WA Department of Health has issued a statement saying it has been advised by its Tasmanian counterpart of the death of a young man from meningococcal disease.

The department said it had provided information, preventive antibiotics and a vaccine dose to the man’s close contacts.

Tasmania’s Health Department also confirmed Mr Dunham’s death at Royal Hobart Hospital.

“His death has been referred to the coroner, and as such, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” a department spokesman said.

It is unclear at this stage where or how Mr Dunham may have contracted the disease.

He is the second person from WA to die from a meningococcal infection this year, after an elderly person succumbed to the disease in May.

There were three deaths from the disease in the state in 2016.

The number of overall infections has decreased significantly in WA during the past decade, but health authorities said there was evidence to suggest meningococcal might be on the rise again.

There were 23 cases of the disease reported in WA in 2016, while there have been 15 cases already this year.

Meningococcal infections are most common in babies and young children, older teenagers and young adults, but can occur at any age.

It is an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and membranes that line the spinal cord and brain, and occasionally the throat.

Most patients recover with treatment, but there is a 5 per cent chance of death.

Facts about meningococcal disease:

  • It is not common, but it is potentially life-threatening.
  • It can cause disabilities if not treated.
  • It is caused by bacterial infection of the blood, or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain.
  • The bacteria is carried harmlessly in the back of the nose and throat by between 10 and 20 per cent of the population.
  • Symptoms may include fever, chills, aches, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and confusion.
  • While the majority of people fully recover, infection can progress quickly and about 5 per cent will die.


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