Daughter's close call in Canada

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013

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A Hawera man whose daughter almost died of meningitis in Canada is warning people to remain aware of the speed with which the disease can strike.

Earlier this week Harcourts Hawera branch manager Shane Rowe rushed to his daughter's side in Vancouver, where she was diagnosed with the potentially lethal illness.

Exactly how Toni Rowe, 24, who was working at a ski resort in Whistler, British Columbia, contracted the illness remained a mystery but the quick actions of a friend and doctors had saved her life, Mr Rowe said.

People close to her have also been tested for the disease.

"It came on ferociously quick and she's pretty lucky she was able to get to a doctor in time," Mr Rowe said.

"They recognised the symptoms and got some broad-spectrum antibiotics into her.

"That bought enough time for her to get to Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver."

Although weak, Miss Rowe was recovering and could be out of hospital as early as Monday, he said.

"It was touch and go there for a little while but the Canadian staff did an absolutely fantastic job.

"She's out of the danger zone now."

Mr Rowe said people needed to be aware of signs of the disease.

"It has been a good reminder of how quickly this disease can hit," he said.

"If you have any neck pain, back pain or vomiting just do not hesitate and get straight to a doctor.

"Time is of the essence."

He said another thing to remember was the importance of health insurance.

"The care has been in excess of $9000 a day.

"Luckily she had comprehensive insurance."

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Symptoms and signs can vary, including high temperature, headache, neck stiffness, muscle and joint pain, skin rash, vomiting and convulsions. There are different groups of meningococcal bacteria, with group B being the most common in New Zealand and about a quarter of the cases caused by group C. Young children, teenagers and young adults are most at risk of this disease.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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