By NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Canterbury District Health Board reported Friday a fatal case of meningococcal disease. Canterbury DHB Medical Officer of Health, Dr Cheryl Brunton, confirmed today that a 21 year old died in Canterbury this week after contracting meningococcal disease.

Neisseria meningitidis

“Unlike COVID-19 or measles, which are highly contagious, meningococcal disease is hard to catch. The bacteria pass from one person to another through secretions from the nose or throat, during close or prolonged contact.

“Members of the same household as a person who has the disease are at the highest risk of getting it. The Community and Public Health team has identified those close contacts of the person who require antibiotics, to prevent them developing meningococcal disease.

“Our team is working closely with the University of Canterbury, which the person attended, to provide information to students and staff.  I can reassure all concerned that the chance of anyone catching it is low.

“Being in the same room as someone with meningococcal disease does not mean you will catch it,” Dr Brunton  said.

Meningococcal disease symptoms typically develop very quickly over a few hours, but in some cases may develop more slowly over several days. A person with meningococcal disease may only have some of the symptoms. The symptoms don’t develop in any particular order.

Common symptoms of meningococcal disease include:

  • a fever (high temperature), although their hands and feet may feel cold
  • vomiting
  • muscle and joint aches and pains.

Common symptoms of meningitis include:

  • a headache, which may be severe
  • a stiff neck
  • sensitivity to bright light
  • drowsiness and confusion (being hard to wake them).

A red or purple rash is common, but it doesn’t always happen. One or two spots can appear anywhere on the body then many more appear looking like rash or bruises.

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