A 15-YEAR-OLD Launceston boy is in a stable condition after becoming the ninth Tasmanian to be diagnosed with meningococcal this year.
It is the third case of the B strain this year and the first in the state’s North.
In a statement issued late on Thursday, Public Health Services clinical director of communicable diseases Faline Howes said the boy was in a stable condition in the Launceston General Hospital.
“Public Health Services is working with the boy’s family to ensure they and other close contacts are properly managed to minimise the risk of further infection,” Dr Howes said.
She said there were no links between the case and the meningococcal B disease case of a four-year-old girl this week in the North-West.
There was no indication of an outbreak of meningococcal B disease in the North or North-West, she said.
Sarah Beltz, 16, of Acton, died from the W strain in July.
A vaccine against the B strain can only be accessed by prescription. Of the eight other cases of meningococcal this year, seven have been in the South and one in the North-West.
Tasmania averages about six cases of meningococcal a year.
Dr Howes said the rate of meningococcal B disease in Tasmania was similar to the Australian rate, while the rate of meningococcal W disease in Tasmania over recent years was much higher.
Five of the nine meningococcal disease cases to date this year were meningococcal W.
Tasmanians born after August 1, 1997, and at least six weeks old are eligible for a free meningococcal vaccination covering strains ACWY under a statewide vaccination program.
“All Tasmanians within this age bracket who have not yet received the free vaccine are strongly advised to get one over the next four to six weeks,” Dr Howes said.
The symptoms of meningococcal disease can include fever, severe headache, confusion, severe muscle pain and rash.