Adult hospitalised for life-threatening meningococcal disease in Western Australia

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An adult is being treated in hospital for meningococcal, bringing Western Australia’s total number of cases of the life-threatening illness this year to 10.

The WA Health Department said on Friday an adult had been diagnosed with meningococcal serogroup W and was recovering in hospital.

It comes just days after a child was admitted to hospital with meningococcal serogroup Y disease.

Last year there were 11 cases reported in WA, including one death.

The uncommon disease is caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain and is not easily spread from person-to-person.

Bacteria is present in droplets when coughing or sneezing, but is not spread by saliva.

Symptoms may include chills, headaches, high fever, nausea, neck stiffness, confusion, drowsiness and severe muscle and joint pain, and may sometimes by accompanied by a spotty red-purple rash.

About five to 10 per cent of people who get the disease die and about 15 per cent may experience long-term complications including brain damage, hearing loss and limb amputations.

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