Sydney man in 40s dies with meningococcal, sparking health warning

Sydney man in 40s dies with meningococcal, sparking health warning

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In this article, you will get all the information regarding Sydney man in 40s dies with meningococcal, sparking health warning

A Sydney man in his 40s has died with meningococcal disease, with health officials only alerted to his infection on Thursday – after his death.

The unexpected fatal case has prompted NSW Health to warn young people to be aware of the symptoms and “act immediately if they appear”.

Fifteen cases of the rare but sometimes fatal meningococcal disease have been reported in NSW so far this year.

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The disease is largely uncommon, having been mostly eradicated by a vaccine that is provided free under the National Immunisation Program.

Children younger than five and those aged 15 to 25 are at greatest risk of contracting the disease.

It can occur all year round but NSW Health said: “We tend to see increases in late winter and early spring.”

Health Protection NSW executive director Dr Jeremy McAnulty said early intervention can be lifesaving.

The meningococcal vaccine is available for free under the National Immunisation Program, and has largely eradicated the disease in Australia. Credit: Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images/iStockphoto

NSW Health says meningococcal disease can be fatal within hours if left untreated, and that up to one in 10 patients die.

Four in 10 infections will result in permanent disabilities, including learning difficulties, sight and hearing problems, liver and kidney failure, loss of fingers, toes or limbs, or scarring caused by skin grafts.

“Knowing the symptoms could help prevent premature death or life-long disability,” NSW Health advises.

Symptoms can include: severe, unexplained limb pain; severe headaches; difficulty waking up; high-pitched crying in babies; becoming upset by bright lights; a stiff neck; and a red-purple rash which doesn’t disappear when pressed with a glass.

“While it is a well-known symptom of meningococcal disease, the rash does not always occur, or may present late in the illness,” McAnulty said.

“Onset of meningococcal disease symptoms can appear suddenly and become very serious very quickly. If you suspect meningococcal disease, don’t wait for the rash – see a doctor immediately.

“If symptoms rapidly worsen, or if your child is very unwell, call triple-0 or go straight to your nearest emergency department.”

A reddish purple rash is one of the symptoms of meningococcal, but experts say not to wait until it appears to seek health advice. Credit: Ilmhunt

NSW Health advise vaccinating against the disease is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Under the National Immunisation Program, meningococcal ACWY vaccine is provided free for babies at 12 months, adolescents, and people of all ages with certain medical conditions.

In NSW, the adolescent dose is delivered through the school vaccination program in Year 10.

As of 1 July 2020, Aboriginal children up to the age of two years, and people with certain medical conditions, also have free access to the meningococcal B vaccine.

All children from six weeks of age can also have the meningococcal B vaccine to reduce the risk of infection.

For more information on vaccination or symptoms, transmission, risks and treatment, visit the NSW Health website.

Sydney man in 40s dies with meningococcal, sparking health warning

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