Meningococcal B case notified in the ACT

ACT Health has been notified of a case of meningococcal disease in the Territory over the weekend.

A person who contracted meningococcal B strain, was admitted to the Canberra Hospital over the weekend and is recovering well. This is the first case of meningococcal B notified in the ACT since 2016.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said immediate action was taken once the case was notified.

“ACT Health has taken appropriate public health action in relation to this case, in accordance with national guidelines,” Dr Kelly said.

“Action taken includes the provision of antibiotics to people who have been in close contact with the person and information about meningococcal disease to those at low-risk as contacts.

“Meningococcal disease is rare, but it can be severe, leading to life-long complications or death. It can cause meningitis and/or bactaeremia – an infection of the blood.”

In more recent years, the dominant disease-causing strains in the ACT and nationally have been meningococcal W and Y.

Dr Kelly said young adults and older teenagers were at a higher risk of contracting meningococcal disease.

“People in these age groups are more likely to carry bacteria in their nose and throat, and more likely to spread the bacteria to others,” Dr Kelly said.

“That’s why we are targeting young people aged 16 to 19 with a catch-up program for the meningococcal ACWY vaccine.

“It’s why today, ACT Health is releasing a new video, which highlights to young people why getting vaccinated against meningococcal is so important.

“It’s also why earlier this year we rolled out the program to Year 10 students in schools and, starting this week, we will be extending it to all Year 11 and 12 students.”

Young people aged 16 to 19 who have yet to receive the meningococcal vaccine can also get the free vaccine through their GP until the end of the year.

Meningococcal symptoms usually develop very quickly over a few hours. It is extremely important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

ACT Health’s new online video about meningococcal vaccine and further information about meningococcal disease and the catch-up program can be found at http://www.health.act.gov.au/our-services/immunisation/adolescents

Statement ends

Media contact:
ACT Health Media    M 0403 344 080  E healthmedia@act.gov.au

Published date: 

Monday, August 20, 2018