Music festival fans warned of meningococcal risk

FANS attending at the Spilt Milk music festival in Canberra last weekend have been warned to be alert for symptoms of meningococcal disease.

Dr Kerryn Coleman. Photo: Holly Treadaway

ACT Health today (December 3) reports there is one concertgoer with meningococcal disease in Canberra Hospital. Any close contacts of the individual, who are at higher risk, are being identified and contacted directly.

Chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said that although meningococcal disease is uncommon, it can be severe and lead to life-long complications or death.

 ‘We are urging people who attended the Spilt Milk festival at Exhibition Park in Canberra on the weekend to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease. One of the more well-known symptoms is a rash but this may not be present at all, or may come very late in the illness’,” she said.

‘People can carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and not have symptoms, but pass it on to close contacts. If you suspect symptoms of meningococcal disease, please seek medical review immediately. 

“While meningococcal disease is now uncommon thanks to vaccination, children under five and people between the ages of 15 to 25 are at the greatest risk of contracting the disease.”

ACT Health said symptoms of meningococcal disease are non-specific but include:

  • sudden onset of fever
  • headache
  • neck stiffness
  • joint pain
  • a rash of red-purple spots or bruises
  • dislike of bright lights
  • nausea and vomiting.

 Young children may have less specific symptoms, these may include:

  • irritability
  • difficulty waking
  • high-pitched crying
  • refusal to eat.

 Not all of the symptoms may be present at once.


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