Update on Cairns meningococcal case

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As of 3.30 this afternoon the news on the little boy with suspected meningococcal is slightly more optimistic.

A source at the Tropical Population Network says tests have confirmed the child does indeed have meningococcal and says while he remains on a ventilator and in intensive care, he is showing some signs of a slight improvement.

While doctors are cautious the feeling is that the little lad is now hopefully heading in the right direction.

Meningococcal disease is a rare but very serious illness that usually appears as meningitis or septicaemia. ‘Meningitis’ means an inflammation of the protective coverings of the brain and spinal cord. ‘Septicaemia’ means blood poisoning, which is a more widespread infection throughout the body.

Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria called ‘meningococci’. There are a number of different groups of meningococci. In Victoria most disease is caused by two groups, namely Serogroup B and Serogroup C.

Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, it is a very serious disease. The infection can develop very quickly, and can be fatal in about 10% of cases. If infection is diagnosed early enough and the right antibiotics are given quickly, most people make a complete recovery.

About a quarter of people who recover experience after-effects. Some of the more common after-effects include headaches, deafness in one or both ears, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), blurring and double vision, aches and stiffness in the joints, and learning difficulties. Most of these problems get better with time.

For more in depth information on Meningococcal disease visit http://www.health.vic.gov.au/ideas/diseases/mening_facts

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