LawTalk Blog

Ask your doctor to rule out meningococcal

toddlers and adolescents most susceptible to meningococcal

With the tragic news of the death of young Mason in late March 2017, the terrible meningococcal disease is back in the headlines. If you’re worried about this disease then one of the best places to head for reliable information is the Meningococcal Australia site. Even if you are not worried about this disease they offer information and sound advice worth knowing.

"5% to 10% of people who contract the disease will not survive."

There are five strains of meningococcal disease and all are caused by a bacterial infection. The disease needs to be recognised and treated promptly. It can appear as septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis.

Who is most susceptible to meningitis?

The most susceptible people in our community are children under five and adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.

5% to 10% of people who contract the disease will not survive.

20% of survivors are left with a permanent disability; for example loss of limbs, scarring, and/or learning disabilities.

Meningococcal septicaemia is a medical emergency. If the disease is in the blood stream the bacteria are multiplying uncontrollably and damaging the blood vessels as it goes. In its meningitis form it is an inflammation of the brain and spinal column and it is serious. Meningococcal disease and can be fatal in a very short time frame.

What are the signs of meningococcal?

The signs and symptoms can be deceptive and are often very similar to the flu. If you have these symptoms or someone else has them, ask your medical professional to rule out meningococcal disease.

  • Headache;
  • Fever;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Vomiting;
  • Muscle and joint pain;
  • Stiff neck; and

A strong telling sign is a rash, however this usually occurs in later stages. The rash can start off as a spot or small blisters. Later it may develop into purple blotches.

How does meningococcal spread?

The disease is spread through respiratory droplets. About 10% of the population can carry meningococcus in their throat and/or nose and not suffer any symptoms.

It spreads through close human contact like coughing, kissing or sneezing.

What can help reduce the spread of meningococcal?

Simple things like washing your hands and maintaining high levels of personal hygiene can assist in reducing the spread.

"The most effective way to prevent the disease is vaccination."

However, the most effective way to prevent the disease is vaccination. Talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself and those you love.

Knowledge is the greatest of weapons in our fight against diseases like meningococcal. Know the signs and symptoms, check your vaccinations are all up to date, and act quickly if you suspect meningococcal disease.

You may be thinking this is an odd topic for a lawyer but there are many legal questions which you may need to ask if confronted with this disease so it should not be dismissed automatically.

One of those questions may be “Do I need to access my life or total and permanent disability insurance attached to my superannuation?” A second question could be “did doctor rule out meningococcal when they should have??”

However, here the aim is knowledge and the power that knowledge and education can provide you with to achieve long, healthy, and prosperous lives.

Want to learn more about meningococcal or meningitis?


Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to South Australian legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.


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