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Child flown to hospital with suspected meningitis

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

One year old Northland child flown to Starship with suspected meningococcal disease

Late last night a one year old child was admitted to Whangarei Hospital with suspected meningococcal disease.

The child was later transferred to Starship Hospital by helicopter and remains in a critical condition. This is the first Northland case this year and it appears to be an isolated case with no links to other cases.

Dr Clair Mills, Northland DHB medical officer of health said the laboratory has confirmed meningococcal infection.

"Northland DHB's public health unit is in the process of working to identify close contacts of the child, a total of about 15 people, and they have or will be given advice and preventative treatment."

Meningococcal disease can occur at any age, but is most common in children under the age of five years.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease in babies and young children may include fever, irritability, sleepiness, floppiness, hard to wake, refusing drink or food, vomiting and a rash. Adults can have similar symptoms and may also have a stiff neck, headache and sensitivity to lights.

"Anyone with some of these symptoms should seek medical attention without delay as early treatment is very important," says Dr Mills.

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