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Fifth Life Claimed By Meningococcal W Disease

A West Australian woman has died after contracting meningococcal disease.

The woman, believed to be aged in her 20s, is the fifth victim of the serogroup W type of meningococcal in WA this year.

So far this year there have been 40 cases of the disease, up from 23 in 2016, with a spike in the number of W and Y strains well above the long-term average of less than one case per year.

So far, there have been 40 diagnosed cases of the various strains compared to 23 last year.

Last month, a young child died from meningococcal and two others were diagnosed with the disease around the same time.

A free vaccination program for people aged 15 to 19 is being offered in WA, Tasmania, NSW, Queensland, and Victoria in 2017 and 2018.

Meningococcal meningitis is a rare but serious bacterial infection. It causes the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • General poor feeling
  • Sudden high fever
  • Severe, persistent headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Discomfort in bright lights
  • Drowsiness or difficulty awakening
  • Joint pain
  • Confusion or other mental changes

According to WEBMD, a reddish or purple skin rash is a very important sign to watch for. If it does not turn white when you press a glass against it the rash may be a sign of blood poisoning. This is a medical emergency.

For more information, head to health.qld.gov.au

with AAP

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