Two cases of meningococcal W confirmed in Top End


Two cases of meningococcal W (MenW) disease have been confirmed in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

One woman in the urban Darwin area has recovered and been discharged from Royal Darwin Hospital however a second woman, from a remote Top End community, has died.

The second woman became unwell on 31 July and was airlifted to Royal Darwin Hospital but died on 2 August.

The cases are not related to an outbreak in Central Australia late last year nor did either case have contact with the other.

The Centre for Disease Control's (CDC) Dr Vicki Krause said appropriate public health action had been taken in both cases ensuring that clearance antibiotics  and meningococcal ACWY vaccinations had been provided to family members.

The meningococcal ACWY vaccination is included in the immunisation schedule for all children 0-12 months in the Northern Territory. This was introduced in December 2017 and 75% of children have received the vaccination in this schedule.

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but very serious disease. It is treatable with antibiotics but the infection can progress very quickly. It is important for people to be aware of the symptoms and to seek medical advice early for either themselves or their children if they have any concerns.

Symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness, an aversion to bright lights, a rash and joint pain. Those affected may also have vomiting and diarrhoea, be difficult to wake up and babies may refuse food and drink and have a high pitched cry.

Concerned parents should book an appointment with their GP to discuss vaccinating their children.

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