The Meningitis Centre of Australia is part of the Telethon Kids Institute and is striving to eliminate meningitis in Australia by lobbying for vaccines and educating the community to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The Centre also provides support for families affected by the disease.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the fluid and membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
There are three main types of meningitis infection
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS!!!!
In August 2013 Australia became the first country in the world to approve the meningococcal B vaccine for widespread use. However while it is available via prescription through a doctor is is still too expensive for most people. The Meningitis Centre Australia is continuing to lobby the federal government to put it on the National Immunisation Program so that it is FREE for everybody.
Please sign our petition for the Federal Government to allocate funding for this life saving vaccine!
In 2013, 105 people were treated for Meningococcal B in Australia. If not treated promptly it can lead to permanent disability or death in 24 hours. EVERY SECOND COUNTS!
11 Aug 2014
Meningococcal claims sixth life in 2014 in New England NSW
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7 Aug 2014
Port Adealide Football Club Viral Meningitis Outbreak
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7 Aug 2014
My one-week-old baby battled meningitis
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A WOMAN has died in a New England hospital with meningococcal disease. This is the sixth case of meningococcal disease in the Hunter New England Health region this year.
Last year there were 11 confirmed cases of mening-ococcal disease in the Hunter New England Local Health district. There were nine confirmed cases in 2012, 15 in 2011 and 13 in 2010.
Hunter New England Health does not reveal which hospitals the cases occur at.
In the most recent death, close contacts of the patient have been prescribed clearance antibiotics. There are no links between the latest case and any previous cases.
Public health physician Dr Tony Merritt said seeking medical attention quickly may prevent the develop-ment of serious compli-cations.
"Meningococcal disease may be very severe and the community needs to be on the alert for its symptoms. If anyone suspects meningo-coccal disease, they should seek medical attention immediately," Dr Merritt said.
Up to 10 per cent of patients with invasive meningococcal disease in Australia die as a result of the infection.
The first symptoms of meningococcal disease may include pain in the legs, cold hands and feet and abnormal skin colour.
Later symptoms may include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights, nausea and vomiting, a rash of reddish-purple spots or bruises and drowsiness. Babies with the infection can be irritable, not feed properly and have an abnormal cry.
"Meningococcal infection does not spread easily,” Dr Merritt said.
“It is spread by secretions from the nose and throat of a person who is carrying it and close and prolonged contact is needed to pass it on. It does not appear to be spread through saliva or by sharing drinks, food or cigarettes.”
He stressed that while meningococcal disease could be serious, in most cases, early detection and treat-ment resulted in a complete recovery. Most cases of meningococcal disease are seen in infants, young children, teenagers and young adults, although peo-ple of any age can be infected.
The two main strains of meningococcal disease in Australia are the B and C strains. The National Immu-nisation Program includes a vaccine for the mening-ococcal C strain but not for the B strain of the disease. This means that young people who have had the meningococcal C vaccine should still be on the look out for symptoms.
"The number of cases of this rare disease has been falling over the past 10 years due in part to the success of the meningococcal C vaccination program," Dr Merritt said.
The meningococcal C vaccine is recommended for all babies at 12 months of age and currently in NSW, free vaccine is provided for unvaccinated people up to 25 years of age.
Where suspected or confirmed meningococcal disease has been diagnosed, public health officials will arrange for information and clearance antibiotics to be provided to close contacts, such as other members of the person's household.
The purpose of clearance antibiotics is to eradicate any meningococcal bacteria the contacts may be carrying to prevent further transmission of the disease.
SOURCE:The Inverell Times
THE Port Adelaide Football Club advises that three of its SANFL Academy players contracted Viral Meningitis in the last 48 hours.
All three have responded well to treatment and have already been discharged from hospital.
AFL listed players Jarrad Redden and John Butcher were admitted to hospital on the weekend, but have also subsequently been released and are feeling considerably better.
Port Adelaide medical staff has informed players and staff that Viral Meningitis is a nasty, highly infectious virus. As such the club is responding quickly and aggressively to eradicate the virus from the club facility, if indeed it exists there, and ensure that the cycle of infection is halted before any staff or other players are affected.
Port Adelaide chief medical officer Dr Mark Fisher says the club has been in contact with the Communicable Disease branch of the South Australian Department of Health who have indicated that this is a typical winter outbreak of the virus.
“What has occurred here at Port Adelaide is a typical community outbreak that is not unusual within a small community environment like a football club,” Dr Fisher said.
“This virus is particularly prevalent within the community at this time of the year and it is most likely that someone has brought it into the club and it has spread from there.
“The common signs of viral meningitis include severe flu-like symptoms, headache and nausea.
“The good news is that John Butcher and Jarrad Redden are both out of hospital and on the mend resting at home. We would expect them to remain away from the club for the next seven to ten days.
“And our three Magpie players who were diagnosed in the last 48 hours have all progressed very well and are already home recuperating.”
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas says the club has been vigilant since learning of the virus.
“Our club Doctors are managing the health and support of all AFL and SANFL players as well as all the staff at the Port Adelaide Football Club,” Mr Thomas said.
“We sought immediate advice from two Infectious Disease experts from the Health Services Department who provided comprehensive recommendations to achieve a best practice response to this situation and protect our staff and players in the future.
“These recommendations were immediately implemented. We contracted the ISS team from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to conduct a ‘hospital strength’ cleansing of the entire AFL and SANFL training environment, plus the administration area. This cleansing process has now been completed.”
Mr Thomas says all staff, players and players’ parents have been fully briefed about the situation and any staff member or player with any sign of illness has been instructed to see a doctor and stay home until they have fully recovered.
Mr Thomas affirmed that the club will significantly increase the frequency and voracity of its facility cleansing regime.
“Port Adelaide’s facility management procedures are already at AFL standard and although this virus is most likely to have been brought in from outside the club environment, it is clear that a fastidious commitment to our hygiene protocols is the best defence against the spread of infection,” Mr Thomas said.
SOURCE: Port Adelaide Football Club
Naomi with Caprice, who is now a happy and healthy 6 month old. Photo: Supplied
As if being a mother to a newborn and a toddler wasn't challenging enough, with the sleep deprivation and surging hormones, imagine the extra stress if you felt something wasn't quite right with your brand new baby. And even though you express concern to hospital staff – and are reassured that all is well – your intuition tells you otherwise.
That was exactly what led Port Macquarie mum Naomi to rush her one-week-old daughter Caprice to the emergency department days after being discharged from hospital, and was the catalyst for Caprice's diagnosis of meningitis - an early detection that saved her life.
Lisa D'Cruz, Project Officer for The Meningitis Centre Australia, explains that isn’t an isolated case, as the deadly disease is often overlooked. The disease, of which there are three types - viral, bacterial and fungal – can seem innocent at first; as with Caprice’s case, it can often originally be ignored because its main symptoms look very similar to the flu.
Caprice in hospital as a sick one-week-old. Photo: Supplied
"Common symptoms include fever, tiredness, irritability, headache, loss of appetite. But what most people are unaware of is the symptoms that progressively worsen in a 24 hour period, which may include a pink/purple rash and septicaemia," D'Cruz says.
Left untreated, the disease can soon turn deadly. "Meningitis is the inflammation or swelling of the meninges, the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord," she says. "The meninges are very important as they contain blood vessels which supply lots of nutrients for the central nervous system."
While the disease is on the decline in Australia, thanks largely to the National Immuninsation Plan, strains such as meningoccocal B are still giving cause for concern because of the hefty vaccination fee.
But D’Cruz and her colleagues at The Meningitis Centre Australia want people to ask, "Could it be meningitis?"
"This could be the question that could save your loved one’s life," D'Cruz says.
Dangerously, for Caprice, none of the health professionals asked this question, even when she displayed many of the warning signs.
"She had a little bit of a rash in hospital which I showed two nurses on day two, and I told the doctor about it when he did his check-up. They said all newborns get lots of rashes," says Naomi.
"I also noticed she would moan in her sleep, but they said that's just normal as well."
Other cries were interpreted by a midwife as wind, and even though Naomi says her baby girl - a little sister to Lola, then 18 months - was relatively happy and sleeping okay, she felt that her daughter was in pain each time she picked her up.
It wasn't until she presented at her local emergency department and detailed her daughter's symptoms that the question was finally asked.
"I told them I sensed I was hurting her, particularly around her head and neck," Naomi says. "They took her straight in and they talked about having to give her a lumbar puncture."
It was then she was told her one-week-old was being tested for meningitis.
"Going up there I was thinking she had wind or reflux and then they're doing lumbar punctures," Naomi says, her voice still laced with shock. "You think the worst: is she going to die?"
After three failed attempts at getting fluid from baby Caprice's spine, the family had to wait for another three days until tests could be sent away to confirm the initial diagnosis. Antibiotics were commenced immediately, in case it was the bacterial strain, and a week later it was verified: Caprice had contracted viral meningitis.
It still remains a mystery how the tiny baby caught meningitis in the first place.
Now, Naomi says she hopes hospital staff re-think what they teach in antenatal classes to help increase parental vigilance.
"We need to concentrate more on symptoms of illnesses and what to look out for, and maybe trying to keep baby at home [when they’re so young]," she says. "For us it could be nothing, but for them when they are so little it can turn into meningitis."
The good news for Naomi and Caprice is that not only did the early detection save her life, but also ensured she won't face future complications as a result. Caprice is now a happy and healthy six-month-old.
Naomi hopes others who face the same battle against meningitis will be as lucky, which is why she wants to share her story to help raise awareness and teach others to trust their instincts.
"Sometimes with a second child you can be a bit blasé, but if something's not feeling right you've got to go with it," she says. And just as The Meningitis Centre Australia advocates, she encourages parents to ask: "could it be meningitis?" You might just save a life.
For more information on meningitis, or for those requiring support while recovering from this disease, call 1800 250 223 or visit meningitis.com.au.
SOURCE: Essential Baby
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