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Baby with invasive strain of meningococcal admitted to hospital

Karishma Sarkari |

The nine-month-old is the 14th case of the disease in South Australia so far this year.


SA Health has confirmed a nine-month-old baby in Adelaide has been admitted to hospital with meningococcal B.

In a statement, issued via Twitter on Wednesday, the health department stated: “SA Health has identified nine people who had contact with the patient who are being directed to receive clearance antibiotics”.

A spokesperson from SA Health told Kidspot there is no cause for concern, as meningococcal cases are most common in winter and spring.




14 cases in South Australia this year

So far this year, there have been 14 cases of meningococcal in South Australia, which is only one more than the same time last year.

According to the department, eight of the cases have been B strain (the most common known strain), while four have had W strain and two had Y strain.

According to Meningococcal Australia, there are five strains of the disease, all of which now have vaccinations available.


Doctor giving a child an intramuscular injection in arm, shallow DOFThere are now vaccinations available for the five meningococcal strains. Source: iStock


Ten per cent of those infected will die from the disease

They also note that while 70 per cent of victims will make a full recovery, 10 per cent of those infected will die from the disease.

While approximately 20 per cent will have permanent disabilities, including sight and hearing problems or, in some cases, the loss of fingers, toes and limbs.

In 2016, there were 27 cases recorded in South Australia.

While last year NSW reported 63, Victoria reported 57 and there were 17 cases in Western Australia, according to the organisation.

Children under five most at risk

Babies and children under five are more susceptible to the disease due to their less mature immune system and account for two-thirds of all cases.

The disease is caused by bacteria and is not a virus so it is transmitted by mucus through kissing, sneezing, coughing, sharing foods/drinks.

However, people can contract the disease and never become ill, with most people carrying the bacteria at some point in their lives without even realising.

Symptoms for babies

According to the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the symptoms of meningococcal in babies includes:

  • have a fever (temperature above 38oC)
  • have a high-pitched, moaning cry
  • be irritable, agitated or just be unsettled
  • be refusing or not waking for feeds
  • be vomiting
  • be difficult to wake or be lethargic and floppy
  • have pale or blotchy skin
  • have a rash of small bright red spots or purple spots or bruises
  • which do not turn white (blanch) when you press on them.

The hospital site also states that the typical symptoms may be hard to detect in newborns and babies.

“Symptoms will show up within two to 10 days (but usually about three to four days) after your child has been in contact with meningococcal. Symptoms often begin suddenly.”