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Ministry Tells Meningococcal Monster on Close-up

Press Release

Ministry Tells Meningococcal Monster on Close-up

Ron Law & Barbara Sumner Burtsyn

"The fact that the Ministry of Health told Close-up viewers a lie regarding 2004 meningococcal disease cases is further evidence that the Ministry is misleading the public over meningoccocal disease" say risk & policy analyst, Ron Law, and writer/researcher Barbara Sumner Burstyn.

This is the closest the Ministry of Health has come to being held accountable publicly, and their spokesperson not only denies knowledge of death rates, but then falsely claims that 2004 was the second highest number of cases since the epidemic began.

The facts, as noted in the Meningococcal Gold Rush, second edition, are that 2004 case numbers were the lowest in over a decade, and death numbers are the lowest since the first year of the epidemic in 1992.

Susan Wood should get Dr Mark Jacobs back on her programme as indicated on Friday and ask him the following questions.

Can the MOH confirm that the number of cases due to all types of meningococcal disease notified in 2004 was the lowest since 1994 as stated by the authors of The Meningococcal Gold Rush?

Can the MOH confirm that the number of deaths due to all types of meningococcal disease notified in 2004 was the lowest since 1992 as stated by the authors of The Meningococcal Gold Rush?

If the above statements are true, why did the MOH tell the public on national TV on Friday night that the number of cases was the second highest ever recorded?

Susan Wood should also ask Dr Jacobs if he can confirm that the death rate for the epidemic strain of meningococcal disease in 5-19 year olds in 2004 was 1.1%? If this is so, why has the MOH provided the media with data saying that 5% of all children who get the disease will die?

Susan Wood should ask Dr Jacobs if the information that the Ministry of Health has been giving the media and health professionals that 5% of children who get meningococcal disease will die, and that 5-20% will be brain damaged or lose limbs is New Zealand data or from overseas.

We believe that the Ministry of Health has promoted a campaign of fear and coercion and outline this at

We believe that the MOH statements on Close-up should be examined by a Royal Commission of Inquiry, in conjunction with numerous other misrepresentations, to determine whether they were made out of ignorance or as part of an orchestrated litany of lies outlined in the Meningococcal Gold Rush, Second Edition.


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