Five diagnosed with meningococcal disease

AMY MAAS
Last updated 10:28 05/09/2012

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LATEST: Five people in the Auckland region have been diagnosed with potentially fatal meningococcal disease in the past week.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service said no-one had died from it and no links between the cases had been established.

Since January, 16 people in Auckland have contracted meningococcal disease - less than the 23 patients diagnosed with it during the same period in 2011.

The last death from meningococcal disease reported in Auckland was in August last year.

Meningococcal disease can be life threatening if it is not treated early.

The health service is encouraging Aucklanders to remain alert for flu-like symptoms that become worse within two or three days.

Symptoms include fever, confusion, sleepiness, aversion of bright lights, stiff neck, joint pain and a rash.

Children or babies who have meningococcal disease may also be vomiting, refusing to eat and can be floppy.

Meningococcal disease is spread through close personal contact, by coughing and sneezing.

Babies, children, teenagers and young adults are most at risk.

On Monday, a Wellington teenager died from suspected meningococcal disease. It is the first suspected meningococcal death in that region this year.

Amanda Crook-Barker had the day off school after feeling "a little bit sick".

The 12-year-old vomited in the morning and developed a rash around 3pm.

Ambulance staff were called after her symptoms worsened and she died in hospital at 5pm.

Dr Andrew Lindsay, medical officer of health at the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, urged people to contact their doctor with they show symptoms of the illness or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

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