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Meningococcal cases despite vaccine

27/07/2007 7:20:07

Five children in Wellington and the Hutt Valley regions under the age of
eight have been diagnosed with meningococcal disease despite two of them
being vaccinated against it.

Three of the cases are confirmed and the other two are probable. Two of the
cases are in one family but the others appear not to be linked.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Margot McLean says two of the patients were
fully immunised with the MeNZB vaccine and some of the others were
partially immunised. Dr McLean says that all of the children had a rapid
onset of illness and in most cases a rash. In all cases, the parents were
alert to the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and sought medical
attention early. The children are now recovering.

Regional Public Health is reminding parents to be aware of the signs of the
disease and to seek help if they are concerned, regardless of whether their
children have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease. The early
stages of the disease include symptoms which may look like a case of
influenza. It can progress very quickly and be difficult to diagnose.

In a child, signs include fever, being sleepy, floppy or hard to wake,
being unsettled or crying, dislike of bright lights, refusal to drink or
feed, having a rash or spot, vomiting.

Adults may have similar symptoms including a fever or headache, be sleepy,
confused, delirious or unconscious, have a stiff neck, dislike bright
lights, have joint pain and aching muscles.