Meningococcal sufferer improving

A SIX-year-old Cooran boy airlifted from Gympie with meningococcal, was in a stable condition "and improving" in Royal Children's Hospital yesterday.

The RACQ CareFlight rescue helicopter brought a pediatric team from Brisbane to assist and stabilise the young boy after his transfer from Gympie Hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Royal Children's CEO Dr Jeannette Young said yesterday Queensland Health was working closely with all the contacts of the case, in accordance with national public health guidelines.

"All close contacts of the case have been identified by Queensland Health and offered antibiotics to clear the meningococcal bacteria from anyone who might be carrying it in their nose or throat, and prevent them from passing it on to some one else who may develop disease," Dr Young said.

"I want to reassure parents that meningococcal disease is not highly infectious and Queensland Health will make direct contact with those in need of follow-up."

Dr Young said meningococcal disease was a severe but uncommon infection caused by a bacterial germ.

"About 10% of people carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and noses without having any symptoms," she said.

"The bacteria are spread via droplets from the nose or throat shed during coughing and sneezing, but close and prolonged contact with a carrier is usually needed to become infected.

"It is important to emphasise that this is not a virus, and it does not spread easily. Very few people go on to develop the disease, and most of these make a complete recovery."

A vaccine against one strain of meningococcal bacteria has been offered to all children, at their first birthday, since 2003.

However, the vaccine cannot prevent all cases of the disease. For this reason, the public, especially parents, need to be aware of the main symptoms.

In 2012 to date, there have been 33 confirmed cases of meningococcal in Queensland.


Anyone with concerns is encouraged to call the 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) hotline.



  • A high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Drowsiness
  • A rash that emerges and spreads rapidly. The rash initially looks like very small bruises just under the skin.
  • Babies may also refuse to feed, be irritable, lethargic and dislike being handled.

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