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Two cases of invasive meningococcal disease have been notified in a 10-year-old girl from rural South Australia and a 31-year-old female from metropolitan Adelaide, according to SA Health. Both have been admitted to hospital and are in a stable condition.

Meningitis symptoms/Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

The strain for both cases have been identified as serotype B.

SA Health has identified multiple people who had contact with the patients, of whom eight people have been directed to receive clearance antibiotics.

Meningococcal health information has been distributed to contacts in accordance with the Invasive Meningococcal Disease Communicable Diseases Network Australia: National Guidelines for Public Health Units.

There have been five cases of invasive meningococcal disease reported in South Australia this year, compared to two cases recorded at the same time last year. Of the five cases reported so far this year, all are serogroup B.

No links have been identified between the recent cases.

A total of 14 cases were reported in 2022. Of the 14 cases, 12 were serogroup B, one case was serogroup Y, and one case was not serogroupable.

Symptoms and signs of meningococcal disease can include headache, fever, vomiting, neck stiffness, and discomfort when looking at lights. A skin rash may occur, with tiny red or purple spots that soon spread and enlarge to look like fresh bruises. At later stages of the illness people may develop confusion and shock.

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In addition, children may be fretful, difficult to wake and refuse to eat. They may have leg pain, cold hands and feet, and a high-pitched or moaning cry. Children may also have pale, blotchy or abnormally coloured skin.

Vaccines are available to protect against a number of types of meningococcal disease. In South Australia under national and state funded programs, meningococcal B vaccine is available and free for infants at six weeks, four months, and 12 months and in adolescents in Year 10; and the meningococcal ACWY vaccine is available for infants at 12 months and in adolescents in Year 10.

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As vaccines do not protect against all types of meningococcal disease, vaccinated people must still be alert for symptoms of meningococcal disease.

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