Meningococcal outbreak 'not a new problem' - doctor

Morning Talk 07/11/2018
Photo: Getty.

The head of the Immunisation Advisory Centre says an outbreak of meningococcal disease in Northland isn’t out of the ordinary.

Dr Nicky Turner told RadioLIVE’s Morning Talk that while there has been a steady increase in cases, the number of people with the bacterial disease isn’t out of the ordinary.

“Nothing has suddenly changed. Meningococcal rates have been climbing over the last couple of years. [Numbers] are still relatively low, up to this year, we’ve had just under a hundred cases - but that’s still worrying.”

We are seeing an increase in a particular type of meningococcal disease.

Dr Turner says it’s a terrifying disease which can present itself quite suddenly, and what New Zealand is seeing at the moment is a new strain which is slightly different than traditional strains.

“We are seeing an increase in a particular type of meningococcal disease that can present a little bit differently from other types.”

Dr Turner says there are certain signs of meningococcal disease to look out for.

“Traditional meningococcal disease [can cause] meningitis [inflammation of the sac surrounding the brain], you get unwell, you get high fevers, nausea, headaches.

“Meningococcal can cause a rash that can look like blood blisters, bruises or little red spots. Meningococcal can also appear like flu.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr Nicky Turner above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.