Ryde families warned of Meningococcal outbreak

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Ryde parents are urged to seek immediate medical attention if signs of advanced Meningococcal Disease (pictured) appear alongside symptoms that include pain, fever, an adverse reaction to bright light, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Photo courtesy Dr Delao Calheiros

Sydney Local Health District has warned Ryde families of the risk the life threatening Meningococcal Disease and has urged them to see a doctor if the symptoms appear.

Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Zeina Najjar, said Meningococcal Disease is an infection that causes Meningitis which leads to an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and severe blood infection.

“The first symptoms of Meningococcal Disease may include pain in the legs, cold hands and feet, and abnormal skin colour,” Dr Najjar said.

“Other symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.

“The disease can be a life-threatening condition and up to 10 per cent of cases can be fatal.

“Infections may also result in severe complications that cause deafness and loss of limbs.”

Not all of the symptoms of Meningococcal Disease may be present at once, Dr Najjar warned.

“Babies with the infection can be irritable, not feed properly and have an abnormal cry.”

A rash of fine red spots or larger bruises is also regarded by doctors as a possible sign that the infection is progressing and that urgent medical attention is needed.

Medical authorities warn the peak season for Meningococcal Disease is late winter and early spring.

The most recent confirmed case is a student at the University of Technology.

“It is important that even people who have been immunised be on alert for any symptoms and seek urgent medical advice if they develop any symptoms,” Dr Najjir said.

Treatment with antibiotics will lead to a complete recovery in most cases.

For more information about meningococcal disease, visit: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/Meningococcal_disease.aspx .