People in Northland are reminded to take steps to keep well this winter and be alert to symptoms following four cases of meningococcal in the region in the past four weeks.
As of this morning, three of the confirmed cases in Northland have been found to be due to the meningococcal B, with results on the other case pending.
All of the cases are in children aged five or under and all have required hospital treatment. At this stage, there are no known links between the cases.
Meningococcal cases are not unexpected at this time of year.
However, this bacterial infection can lead to serious illness and death and all whānau should take sensible steps to best protect their tamariki.
Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Te Tai Tokerau is continuing to monitor for additional cases locally and links between know cases, with support from central agencies, including the Ministry of Health, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, and Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority.
Advice has been sent to GPs, Māori health providers and other health services in the district.
People, especially parents, are asked to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal, including a high fever, headache, sleepiness, joint and muscle pains.
If you notice any of the symptoms of meningococcal disease or have any other concerns, contact your doctor without delay – or call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 at any hour of the day or night, even if you have already been seen by a health professional.
We are also asked to take steps to stay well this winter, including keeping childhood immunisation up to date, getting the flu vaccine and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
Keeping your house warm and dry, eating well, and staying active, wearing face masks indoors and outside the home and staying at home if sick will help protect you and your loved ones this winter.
Important background information
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can affect anyone – but it’s more common in children under the age of 5, teenagers, and young adults. Students in their ﬁrst year of tertiary education living in student accommodation may also be at higher risk.
It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease because it can develop very quickly. It can be treated with antibiotics, but early treatment is very important.
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.