Northland DHBFriday 02 November 2012, 1:12PM
Media release from Northland DHB
Northland District Health Board has been notified of a case of
Meningococcal disease which has resulted in the tragic death of a
14 month old child.
Lab results have confirmed the B strain of Meningococcal
The child became unwell on Sunday 14 October and was taken to an
Tragically, the child died at home in the early hours of Monday 15
This is the first death and the third case of meningococcal disease
in Northland so far this year. Earlier in October there was a 13
month old boy and in March there was an 8 month old girl, neither
case was fatal.
Northland Medical Officer of Health Dr Jonathan Jarman said that
meningococcal disease was a very unpredictable disease.
"Initially it can present like the flu or a tummy bug, but the
difference is Meningococcal
disease can get worse very quickly. Some people do not even get
sick when they catch the bug, however a small number rapidly
develop invasive Meningococcal disease.
Dr Jarman has met with the Child's family, and says it is one of
the saddest cases he has seen.
"This case was an example of how quickly Meningococcal disease can
progress, and I
understand the sorrow and anger the family are dealing with at this
Dr Jarman adds it is important that parents seek medical advice if
their child becomes
unwell, "If your child is sick take them to the doctor. And if they
don't get better or if you
worried go back to the doctor."
An investigation into the death will be led by the Te Tai Tokerau
PHO, which will look at the management of the case by the GP.
"It is crucial that an appropriate process is followed
investigating this case. It is neither
appropriate nor beneficial to speculate at this stage".
"Ultimately it is up to the Coroner to decide on the cause of death
and to look at preventable factors" said Dr Jarman.
For more information about meningococcal disease talk to your
doctor, practice nurse, or medical centre or contact your local
public health service. For free advice after hours (24hour service)
phone Healthline 0800 611116.
More information about Meningococcal Disease
2012 has seen the least number of reported cases of
meningococcal disease in Northland since 1991. From 1992 to the mid
2000s there was an epidemic of serogroup B disease in New
In 1997 Northland experienced a spike in cases, where there were 43
cases including two deaths. The Meningococcal serogroup B
vaccination campaign finished in 2008. So far in 2012, confirmed
cases of meningococcal disease include two serogroup 'B and one
Northland DHB delivered an extensive FREE vaccination programme in
late 2011 following a community outbreak of Meningococcal C, to all
Northlanders aged 12 months to under 20 years, with approximately
33,000 vaccinated against the disease.
A small amount of Meningococcal C vaccine was left over and is
still available free of charge at participating Northland GPs for
people aged between one year and 20 years who missed out last
Northland DHB Spokesperson
Dr Jonathan Jarman, Medical Officer of Health - Mobile: