Boy with meningococcal goes home

THE Yeppoon four-year-old boy who contracted meningococcal disease last week was well enough to come home late yesterday.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman yesterday said the boy was in a good condition at the Brisbane Royal Children’s Hospital and due to check out yesterday.

Last Friday Queensland Health confirmed it was investigating the case and the child was taken to the Brisbane hospital where he remained in a stable condition across the weekend.

In a statement last week, the department said that it had provided information to close contacts of the boy and other concerned people.

A spokesman yesterday said those with prolonged contact with the child were given clearance antibiotics to kill the bacteria which can be present in 10% of people without their knowledge, and transmitted through coughing, sneezing and prolonged contact.

He said the department was not aware of anyone else from the area with symptoms of the disease.

A Yeppoon school sent a notice home with students last week informing parents of the case and the symptoms of the disease.

Dr Margaret Young, public health physician for Central Regional Services, yesterday said there had been 46 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in Queensland this year and two deaths; the latest being a four-year-old girl who died in Hervey Bay Hospital last Saturday.

Dr Young said tests had been taken to determine the cause of the child’s death, but from the time she was taken to the hospital, meningococcal disease was considered the probable cause of her illness.

Dr Young said people should not be alarmed about the disease, but should be aware of the symptoms.

These include a high fever, severe headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, drowsiness and a rash which looks like small bruises under the skin and emerges and spreads rapidly.

Babies may also refuse to feed, are lethargic and have a dislike of being handled.

“Very few people go on to develop the disease, and most of these make a complete recovery.”



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