A child is in hospital after being diagnosed with life-threatening meningococcal disease, WA authorities have confirmed.
The Department of Health said the child was diagnosed with the serogroup B strain, one of 13 known meningococcal disease serogroups, and is currently recovering.
The case of meningococcal disease is WA’s fifth this year.
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It is caused by a bacterial infection of the blood or membranes that line the spinal cord, brain, throat, lungs and the body’s larger joints.
It can be spread via bacteria discharged from the nose and throat when coughing or sneezing, however it doesn’t survive more than a few seconds in the environment.
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A high fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, and muscle and joint pain are symptoms of meningococcal disease.
A pale or blotchy complexion, vomiting, lethargy, poor feeding and rash are important signs in children who may have the condition.
“Sometimes – but not always – symptoms may be accompanied by the appearance of a spotty red-purple rash that looks like small bleeding points beneath the skin or bruises,” a Department of Health statement read.
Meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics but cases can deteriorate rapidly so urgent medical attention is advised as soon as symptoms are noticed.
While most people make a full recovery, some do experience serious complications including scarring, limb amputations, brain damage, hearing loss and even death.
Authorities say vaccination is the best way to protect from the disease.
Eighteen cases were confirmed in WA in 2022. None were fatal.
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