26 September 2023

Meningococcal warning after festival goes

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ACT Health is urging people who attended the Spilt Milk festival in Canberra last month (26 November) to be alert to the symptoms of meningococcal disease and act immediately if they appear.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said an individual who attended the festival had been treated at Canberra Hospital for the disease.

“Any close contacts of the individual who are at higher risk are being identified and contacted directly,” Dr Coleman said.

“Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, it can be severe and lead to life-long complications or death,” she said.

“We are urging people who attended the Spilt Milk festival at Exhibition Park in Canberra on the weekend to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease.”

Dr Coleman said one of the more well-known symptoms of meningococcal was a rash but this may not be present at all, or may come very late in the illness.

She said symptoms of meningococcal disease were non-specific but included sudden onset of fever; headache; neck stiffness; joint pain; a rash of red-purple spots or bruises; dislike of bright lights; and/or nausea and vomiting.

She said young children may have less specific symptoms, including irritability; difficulty walking; high-pitched crying; and/or refusal to eat.

“Not all of the symptoms may be present at once,” Dr Coleman said.

“People can carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and not have symptoms, but pass it on to close contacts,” she said.

“If you suspect symptoms of meningococcal disease, please seek medical review immediately.”

Further information on meningococcal disease can be accessed at this PS News link.

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