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Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes two very serious illnesses: meningitis (an infection of the membranes that cover the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
If you think you or your child may have these, seek immediate medical advice.

It can affect anyone – but it’s more common in children under the age of 5, teenagers, and young adults. Students in their first year of tertiary education living in hostel accommodation may also be at higher risk. The bacteria pass from person to person through secretions from the nose or throat, for example by coughing or sneezing.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of meningitis as it can develop quickly. It can be treated with antibiotics, but early treatment is very important.

If you notice any of the symptoms of meningitis, seek immediate medical advice.

The bacteria passes from person to person through secretions from the nose or throat, for example by coughing or sneezing, by kissing, or by sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes or pacifiers (babies’ dummies).

It can be difficult to recognise meningococcal disease because it can look like other illnesses, such as the flu.

Symptoms can develop suddenly and include:

  • a high fever
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • joint and muscle pain
  • a stiff neck
  • dislike of bright lights
  • vomiting
  • a rash of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises
  • crying and refusal to eat in infants.

If you notice any of the symptoms of meningococcal disease, seek immediate medical advice.

Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics, but early treatment is very important.

Meningococcal disease is notifiable. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. Our nurses can then identify and speak to the people you have been in close contact with. Depending on where and when you were in contact with them, they may be offered prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics and/or health advice.  

If you are in the greater Auckland region, and are concerned you have had close contact with someone who has recently had meningococcal disease, call Auckland Regional Public Health Service on (09) 623 4600.

 

Information in other languages

  • Pamphlet - Meningococcal disease: know the symptoms PDF (HealthEd)

Samoan  Te Reo Māori Tongan

The bacteria passes from person to person through secretions from the nose or throat, for example by coughing or sneezing, by kissing, or by sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes or pacifiers (babies’ dummies).

It can be difficult to recognise meningococcal disease because it can look like other illnesses, such as the flu.

Symptoms can develop suddenly and include:

  • a high fever
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • joint and muscle pain
  • a stiff neck
  • dislike of bright lights
  • vomiting
  • a rash of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises
  • crying and refusal to eat in infants.

If you notice any of the symptoms of meningococcal disease, seek immediate medical advice.

Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics, but early treatment is very important.

Meningococcal disease is notifiable. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. Our nurses can then identify and speak to the people you have been in close contact with. Depending on where and when you were in contact with them, they may be offered prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics and/or health advice.  

If you are in the greater Auckland region, and are concerned you have had close contact with someone who has recently had meningococcal disease, call Auckland Regional Public Health Service on (09) 623 4600.

 

Information in other languages

  • Pamphlet - Meningococcal disease: know the symptoms PDF (HealthEd)

Samoan  Te Reo Māori Tongan

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 13.09.2018

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