HEALTH authorities are on high alert after multiple cases of meningococcal outbreaks found on the Sunshine Coast.
HEALTH authorities are on high alert after multiple cases of meningococcal outbreaks found on the Sunshine Coast. FILE

Young child, older man struck down by meningococcal

UPDATE 10:15am: Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service has confirmed two cases of meningococcal have been reported on the Coast this past month. 

The cases involved a child and an older man from outside the Coast region. 

The child has since made a good recovery and the disease was not contacted outside the family unit. 

Public health physician Dr Roscoe Taylor said meningococcal was not a "highly contagious" disease and that it is not routine to issue a public health alert. 

"Invasive meningococcal disease is different from some conditions such as measles, where transmission from person to person can readily occur even in public spaces," Dr Taylor said via statement. 

"There is no outbreak on the Coast. 

"Two cases of meningococcal have been notified  this year-to-date for the Sunshine Coast area, however this is not unusual. 

"One case involved an older man who was living away from the area at the time he became unwell, and his condition was managed outside the Coast region. His case was recorded in the Coast data because that is his permanent residential address. 

"The child did not attend child care and did not visit public spaces while unwell. This meant, there was no need to alert the public of this case."   

 

EARLIER: HEALTH authorities are on high alert after multiple cases of meningococcal have been reported on the Sunshine Coast in recent weeks.

There have been two reported cases the past month - the weeks starting April 2 and March 26.

Only one case was reported in 2017 and 2015, while there were none in 2016.

Meningococcal meningitis is a rare but serious bacterial infection which causes the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed.

Nambour doctor and Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association vice-president Dr Wayne Herdy said it was a "strange" disease.

"A fairly large proportion actually carry the bug in their nose anyway, 30 per cent of the target population," Dr Herdy said.

"And it causes no trouble at all. But for reasons no one understands, for a very small group of the population it becomes invasive and has a devastating affect.

"Why it happens to such a small number is a mystery."

RELATED:

Why 2017 was the year of the STD on the Sunshine Coast.

Meningococcal case on Coast as deadly diseases sweep south-east.

Don't vaccinate? You're betraying your country

Dr Herdy said a common misconception of the disease was that it affected infants the most, in fact it is people in their late teens to early 20s.

"People are obviously the most devastated when young infants are affected, this is when there is a lot more emotion around it," he said.

"But peak groups are late teens to early 20s, but you don't tend to hear about it with the same emotion.

"Two cases this year is small, but always a concern. If we get a cluster in one week, that is a real concern."

He said it was important for residents to be immunised.

Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Services have been approached for comment.

More to come.



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