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Suspected Meningococcal Case Today a Reminder

Media Statement

Friday 14 January 2005

Suspected Meningococcal Case Today a Poignant Reminder

The mother of a four-year-old Meningococcal victim who nearly died last [Thursday 13 January] night is anxiously awaiting the vaccination for the deadly disease.

John Smith was rushed to Gisborne Hospital after his mother Allison Chambers, and later a GP, suspected the early signs of Meningococcal disease.

“At 3pm my boy says to me, mum, I’m cold, and I’m thinking, hang on, it’s really hot.”

Over the afternoon Ms Chambers watched her son’s temperature rise quickly. He became listless, and at 6pm Ms Chambers noticed a tiny rash on his chest.

“I thought, that’s it. We are going to the doctor. I didn’t think it could be Meningococcal but it did run through my head.”

After receiving antibiotics and fluids John today remains in a comfortable condition in the Children’s Ward at Gisborne Hospital.

Ms Chambers said she is pleased the Meningococcal B vaccination is arriving in Gisborne next month.

Around 3500 Tairawhiti pre-school children are eligible for the free and safe vaccine which will be at GP Practices from Valentines Day Monday 14 February.

“I’ve always kept up to date with my kids’ vaccinations. When I heard about this one I asked the Plunkett nurse and my GP about it.”

Ms Chambers said she wanted to tell her and John’s story to help other families recognise the dangers of Meningococcal disease and the importance of vaccination.

“I don’t want other mothers to go through what I have. It’s bloody scary. I thought he was going to die.”

Free Meningococcal immunisations will be available for school-age children from April 2, 2005.

School leavers aged up to 19 years are also eligible for a free vaccination.

Each child needs three vaccinations spaced six weeks apart to ensure best protection against the deadly disease.


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