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Meningococcal Awareness

Meningococcal Awareness

As we head into late winter and spring, NSW Health are urging everyone to be alert to the symptoms of meningococcal disease.

NSW Health have launched a state wide campaign about identifying the symptoms of meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterial infection that can lead to serious illness if not recognised and treated in time. While anyone can contract meningococcal disease, infection rates are higher in children aged 0 – 4 years and young people aged 15 – 24 years.

Do you know the symptoms of meningococcal disease?

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include:
* Sudden onset of fever
* Headache
* Neck stiffness
* Joint pain
* Dislike of bright lights
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Irritability
* Rash of red-purple spots or bruises that doesn’t disappear when pressure is applied.(A rash does not always appear or it may occur late in the disease).

Some or all of these symptoms may appear and can mimic other common illnesses. Symptoms usually occur suddenly and can get worse quickly, so it’s important to seek urgent medical treatment.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread. The NSW School vaccination program provides free vaccination against meningococcal disease for year 10 students in 2019. Students ages 15-16 can access free vaccine from their GP.

Act fast and seek medical advice quickly

People infected with meningococcal disease can become extremely unwell very quickly. People who could have meningococcal disease should seek urgent medical advice.

For more information about meningococcal disease and vaccinations, or to obtain information to promote this within your school community, visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/infectious/meningococcal.