Meningococcal kills Sydney man, NSW Health puts out alert

NSW Health has put out an alert after a man in his 40s died from meningococcal disease.

“His infection was identified following his death and notified to NSW Health yesterday,” health officials said.

It has sparked a warning from NSW Health for young people and parents in the state to be alert for symptoms and “act immediately if they appear”.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said early intervention of the disease can be can be lifesaving.

“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,” McAnulty said.

According to health experts, meningococcal bacteria are carried by about 10 per cent of the population harmlessly at the back of the throat or in the nose.

They are then spread via droplets during coughing and sneezing or close contact such as kissing.

If the infection is detected early enough and the correct antibiotics are administered, most cases make a full recovery.

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

Multiple of invasive meningococcal disease have been reported in Australia this year. In July, a two-year-old child died after contracting a case. The four most common meningococcal types in Australia are B, C, W and Y and vaccines are available to protect against them.

A total of 12 cases were reported in SA in 2021 – of which six were serogroup B and six were serogroup W.

There were three deaths from meningococcal disease in 2021.

Symptoms of meningococcal include:

– Red and purple rash

– Severe and unexplained limb pain

– Difficulty waking up

– High-pitched crying in babies

– Severe headache

– Upset by bright lights

– Stiff neck

Originally published as Meningococcal kills Sydney man, NSW Health puts out alert

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