News State SA News Meningococcal cases rise in May prompting SA Health warning

Meningococcal cases rise in May prompting SA Health warning

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Three cases of meningococcal disease have been diagnosed in South Australia in the past week, prompting SA Health to issue a warning.

So far this year 11 people, ranging in age from a one-year-old to a 94-year-old, have fallen ill to the infection.

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Last year 30 people were diagnosed with the illness in South Australia.

SA Health’s chief medical officer, Paddy Phillips, said the disease was especially severe in young children, but anyone could be affected.

“The symptoms are fever, vomiting, neck stiffness, cold, clammy skin turning into a rash, confusion and ultimately coma,” he said.

The illness is also known in some cases to cause a rash of red and purple spots.

“In the past week one male and two females have fallen ill with the disease, bringing the number of meningococcal infection cases recorded in May to four, almost a third of our total cases.”

He said the infection was rare but became more common when there were more respiratory infections around like influenza.

The meningococcus bacteria are carried around in the nose and throat of about 10 per cent of the population, but are usually harmless.

The bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact.

People are being urged to seek medical assistance if they are experiencing or their children have any signs of the disease.

– AAP

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