Dec. 5, 2018, 5:57 p.m.
An urgent vaccination programme is being rolled out across Northland by the Ministry of Health to control a rise in the rare Meningitis W strain responsible for three deaths in the region in the last few months.
Over the last two years rates have been rising and Starship Paediatrician Dr Emma Best said Northland has hit a rate of 5.7 per 100,000 people being the highest in the country.
“MenW has made an important appearance and is now our second most common group this year and has doubled since last year.
“This year after 24 menW cases the case fatality rate was 25% which was very alarming and widely reported that this is a more viralant more dangerous strain of meningococcal disease,” Best said.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, rash, drowsiness or irritability. Men W may not have the traditional symptoms of meningococcal disease normally seen described above. As a result, it is important to seek medical attention if you or your child feels very sick.
Pharmac has confirmed they have procured an additional 5000 doses of Meningococcal ACWY vaccine, which brings the total stock available for Northland's targeted three-week vaccination programme to 25,650 doses. Northland District Health Board officials say the additional 5000 doses have the potential to cover 100% of their targeted groups
Daily vaccinations booths will be set up at around schools and community centres from Whangārei to Kaitaia over the next two weeks. All details can be found on the Northland DHB website or contact your local GP.