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Warnings like lethal meningococcal disease strike Bay of Plenty



Twelve cases of deadly infectious disease were reported in Bay of Plenty this year.

Twelve cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in the Plenty and Lakes District Health Board areas covering the areas of Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatāne. In 2017, there were 11 cases and eight in 2016.

The Ministry of Health warns against a particularly deadly strain of infectious disease known as the W group (MenW).

Director of Public Health, Dr. Caroline McElnay, said that since the second half of 2017 there has been a steep increase in MenW cases at national level, with twelve cases reported including 20 deaths in 2017, including three deaths.

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• Quick action saved the baby from meningococcal disease
This year, there were 24 cases, including six deaths. Typically, there are up to six MenW cases per year, says Dr. McElnay.

There have been four cases in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District this year. There were none in 2017 and 2016.

"This MenW is associated with a high mortality rate and affects all ages." Northland was the worst affected, this year up to seven cases, including three deaths, "said Dr. McElnay.

Chief Physician for Public Health Toi Te Ora Phil Dr Shoemack said that the earlier people were diagnosed, the better they could get.

Early signs of meningococcal disease can be mistaken for influenza. However, the big difference was the rapid deterioration of the person with him, Shoemack said.

"This error causes a very severe illness very quickly, with an amazingly fast onset, literally one hour apart from another."

Emergency medical care was crucial, Shoemack said.

"A fair share of people who receive meningococcal disease, even if they survive, many people end up with potentially life-threatening problems, can affect their hearing, affect their brain function, and can also cause blood poisoning, may result in an individual ending up amputation of fingers, fingers or limbs. "

Like flu, meningococcal disease has many tribes. There is a vaccine that covers most of them except group B, the most common form of meningococcal disease.

Altogether, 96 cases of meningococcal disease have been reported at the national level.

A year earlier, the 112th Ministry of Health reported that the annual number of cases in New Zealand has increased steadily since 2014, when 45 cases were reported.

Meningococcal disease – what to look for

Meningococcal disease can be difficult to diagnose because it may look like other illnesses, such as influenza. Symptoms of meningitis may develop at the same time and include:

– high fever

– headache

– somnolence

– joint and muscle pain.

Specific symptoms may include:
– stiff neck
– intolerance of bright lights
– vomiting
– crying
– refusal to feed (infants)
– a rash consisting of reddish brown purple spots or bruises.

What to do

If you or someone in your family have these symptoms, ask your doctor immediately or call 111. Tell me what the symptoms are. You can also call Healthline Free at

0800 611 116

, 24 hours per day.

Source – Ministry of Health


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