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Man dies with meningococcal in Sydney sparking health warning


NSW Health said the man in his 40s from Sydney died with the disease.

“His infection was identified following his death and notified to NSW Health yesterday,” the authority said.

A microscopic image of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria which causes meningococcal.
A microscopic image of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria which causes meningococcal. (Microscopy)

It has sparked a warning from NSW Health for young people and parents in the state to be alert for symptoms and “act immediately if they appear”.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty from NSW Health said early intervention can be lifesaving.

“Onset of meningococcal disease symptoms can appear suddenly and become very serious very quickly. If you suspect meningococcal disease, don’t wait for the rash – see a doctor immediately,” McAnulty said.

Meningococcal disease can be fatal if left untreated.

  • Severe and unexplained limb pain
  • Difficulty waking up
  • High-pitched crying in babies
  • Severe headache
  • Upset by bright lights
  • Stiff neck
  • Red and purple rash which doesn’t disappear when pressed with a glass

“While it is a well-known symptom of meningococcal disease, the rash does not always occur, or may present late in the illness,” McAnulty added.

NSW Health's Dr Jeremy McAnulty
NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said early intervention is the best treatment for meningococcal. (Edwina Pickles)

“If symptoms rapidly worsen, or if your child is very unwell, call Triple Zero (000) or go straight to your nearest emergency department.”

NSW Health said while the disease is rare, up to one in 10 cases die and four in 10 infections result in permanent disabilities.

Most Australians are vaccinated for meningococcal as babies.



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