​Newsletter Apr 2017 – Meningococcal Disease

​Newsletter Apr 2017 – Meningococcal Disease

Posted on Apr 28, 2017

The longer days are behind us now and where did the summer go? It’s this time of year we start to think about keeping ourselves well with the usual winter illnesses just around the corner.

One way you can protect yourself and your family is getting vaccinated against the flu. The adult formula of the 2017 flu vaccine is now available, and we are operating a nurse led flu vaccine clinic again this year. If you’re aged over 65 years old or have a chronic disease you may be eligible for a government funded vaccine, otherwise privately funded vaccines are also available. The children’s formula shouldn’t be too far away, if you’re interested in this for your child please inform reception.

We are excited to welcome Dr Alison Sands who brings over 20 years experience in General Practice to Turn the Corner. Alison has a diverse range of interests including aged care, women’s health, chronic pain, mental health, paediatrics and travel health. Bookings with Alison will be available on Saturday mornings and she is looking forward to helping you manage your health and well-being.

An update on Meningococcal Disease

Meningococal disease is a relatively rare but severe bacterial infection that causes death in about 5-10% of cases. We have had a influx of questions about Meningococcal Disease and the different vaccines that are available. We’ve put together some key information to help you and your family stay safe.

Meningococcal B
85% of all invasive Meningococcal cases in Australia are caused by the Men B strain. While the vaccine is not funded it is be available for purchase. There is a current supply issue but manufacturers of the vaccine are expecting more stock to be available in April. Infants under 2 years and teenagers aged between 15-19 years are those at highest risk. The number of doses required depends on the age of the person when the course is commenced- for specific information speak to your doctor or nurse.

Meningococcal C
A Meningococcal C vaccine is currently administered to infants at 12 months of age on the National Immunisation Program. Since the introduction of the Men C vaccine over 10 years ago, the rates of Men C disease has dropped significantly. Immunity is developed within 10-14 days of receiving the vaccine. Common side effects include pain and redness where the injection was administered, fever, irritability, drowsiness, decreased appetite and headaches.

Meningococcal W
Rates of Meningococcal W infection has increased over the last few years. In 2016 there were 48 cases reported in Victoria compared to just 17 in 2015. It was recently announced that from Term 2 this year the Victorian Government will fund a one year vaccination program targeting Meningococcal W. The vaccine will be given to 15-19 year-olds and will be delivered as a school based immunisation program.

It is spread through close human contact, coughing, sneezing and kissing. Washing your hands regularly and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing can reduce the spread of disease.

Symptoms of Meningococcal Disease:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomitting
  • Muscle and joint pain or a stiff neck
  • Extreme tiredness or floppiness
  • Turning away from light (photophobia)
  • Convulsions (fits) or twitching
  • Rash of red or purple pinprick spots or larger bruises

If you are worried about someone who is experiencing some of these signs and symptoms, and seems sicker than you would expect with a normal infection, seek medical help immediately.