Child with meningococcal septicaemia

22 March 2017

A child who was admitted to Gisborne Hospital last week with meningococcal septicaemia has now been discharged.

All those who had been in close contact with the child have been followed up. Other families that the child may have been in contact with have been supplied information about the disease and what symptoms to look out for.

Meningococcal disease is relatively rare these days says Medical Officer of Health Dr Margot McLean. “Early treatment is vital. In the this case the mother acted quickly when she suspected her child was seriously ill. It is good for parents and caregivers to aware of what symptoms to look out for and to contact their Medical Centre or call Healthline if they need advice.”

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes two very serious illnesses: meningitis (an infection of the membranes that cover the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). It can affect anyone – but it’s more common in children under the age of 5, teenagers, and young adults.

Symptoms of meningitis can develop suddenly and include:

  • a high fever
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • joint and muscle pains.

There can also be some more specific symptoms, such as:

  • a stiff neck
  • dislike of bright lights
  • vomiting
  • crying
  • refusal to feed (in infants)
  • a rash consisting of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises.

See more information on the Ministry of Health website.