Life-threatening disease reappears in the Far North

FAR North Queenslanders are being urged to remain vigilant for another potentially deadly disease that has emerged in the region.

Health officials have confirmed a case of invasive meningococcal in the Cape York and Torres Strait region, after it was detected in a patient within the past week.

Queensland Health, however, will not say where in the vast region the case was recorded, due to patient confidentiality.

To date, there has only been one case of the bacterial disease confirmed in the region, and another case confirmed in the Cairns health district earlier this year.

A departmental spokeswoman said meningococcal disease was a rare but serious and sometimes fatal illness that could potentially be prevented through vaccination.

"It most commonly occurs in children aged younger than two years and in adolescents aged 15-19 years of age," she said.

"Queensland Health continues to monitor the trends of strains causing invasive meningococcal disease and responds accordingly."

Indigenous people are regarded as having a three-fold greater risk than others of acquiring meningococcal disease.

The disease occurs when meningococcal bacteria invades the body from the throat or nose.

Although most people who have these bacteria in their throat or nose remain quite well, they are able to spread the bacteria to others, and a few of these people may subsequently become ill.

Symptoms of the disease include nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, joint pain, light sensitivity, a sudden fever and a rash of red-purple spots.

Originally published as Life-threatening disease reappears in the Far North


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