Second 18 year old in hospital with meningococcal disease

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Mar 09, 2023 |

National Public Health Service Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink confirmed this afternoon that a second case of meningococcal disease has been reported in an 18-year-old student, and the student had been admitted to Christchurch Hospital.

“This is the fourth case of meningococcal disease in Canterbury this year,” says Dr Pink.

“We have identified the close contacts of this person and they have all received antibiotics, to prevent them developing meningococcal disease. The bacteria pass from one person to another through secretions from the nose or throat, during close or prolonged contact and the chance of anyone else catching it is low.”

Meningococcal disease is a fast-moving illness, which has symptoms similar to a number of other illnesses such as COVID-19 and influenza.

“It’s a bacterial infection that can cause two very serious illnesses: meningitis (an infection of the membranes that cover the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). It can affect anyone – but it’s more common in children under the age of five, teenagers, and young adults.

“Up to 15% of people carry the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease in their nose and throat without being sick. In some people, for reasons we don’t fully understand, these bacteria sometimes go on to cause disease, spreading through the bloodstream (causing blood poisoning) or to the brain (causing meningitis). The bacteria are spread in secretions from the nose or throat by coughing, sneezing and kissing,” Dr Pink said.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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