Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Meningococcal Disease on Increase Again

Auckland Healthcare

Press Release

Meningococcal disease on increase again

Public health authorities in Auckland are concerned about a dramatic rise in the number of cases of meningococcal disease over recent weeks. Since the beginning of July there have been 22 cases [editors note: this has now increased to 23] reported in the Auckland region compared with 14 over the same period last year. Four people have died in this period, two infants and two young adults. A similar increase in cases and deaths has been reported from several other parts of the country.

The key message for parents and the public is "don't wait-take action". If meningococcal disease is suspected, people should seek help urgently, either from their family doctor or an after hours medical service. Dr Chris Bullen, a public health medicine specialist with Auckland Healthcare, said it was important for people not to get put off - even if cleared by the doctor. People shouldn't be afraid to go back to the doctor if the person gets worse or is not improving quickly.

Dr Bullen said that meningococcal disease is an aggressive and rapidly progressive disease, which can be fatal if not treated early. Recognition of early presenting features is therefore vital to prevent deaths and disability.

In babies, the disease may present with non-specific features such as irritability, unusual crying, being off feeds or excessive drowsiness. A fever is almost always present and in about 50% of cases a rash develops. This may begin as a few purplish-red spots, which may then develop into a bruise-like rash. Some babies may have a convulsion.

Parents should check babies often if they are unwell, and if concerned go straight to their GP for a check. GP visits for children under six are free.

In older children and adults, the most common features are a combination of high fever, severe headache, drowsiness or confusion, a rash as described above and vomiting. Lethargy, muscle and joint aches and sometimes a stiff neck may also be present. All people who are unwell should be watched carefully to ensure they get urgent attention if their condition deteriorates.

Dr Bullen said that an awareness raising programme co-ordinated by Auckland Healthcare is currently underway. Maori and Pacific families with young children in the areas where most of the cases have come from are being presented with information about the disease through schools, churches and in shopping centres. In some areas door to door visiting is being undertaken by lay educators. A similar programme last year was highly successful in preventing deaths among children in the target areas, said Dr Bullen. In addition, around 50 000 information pamphlets have been distributed by teams of volunteers to homes and schools throughout South Auckland.

A programme keeping GPs up to date on the early diagnosis and management of the killer disease has also been in place over the past few months in anticipation of a rise in incidence over winter.

Media queries contact: Dr Chris Bullen, Public Health Medicine Specialist, Auckland Healthcare Ph 262 1855 or 025 281 6612

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Geo-political Posturing Over China’s Cyber Hacks, Plus The Weekly Playlist

The timing was one of the weirder aspects of this week’s cyber condemnation of China by the West. Why was this piece of political theatre being staged now? China (and Russia’s) sponsoring and/or condoning of semi-state and criminal hacker groups has been known about for nigh on a decade. More particularly, Microsoft had been alerted to the flaws in its Microsoft Exchange... More>>




 
 


Government: Quarantine Free Travel With Australia Suspended

Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today... More>>

ALSO:


Government: New Zealand Condemns Malicious Cyber Activity By Chinese State-sponsored Actors

New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious activity... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Commits $600,000 To Flood Recovery

The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort... More>>

ALSO:



NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>



Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels