Community and Public Health have confirmed the South Island patients with
meningococcal disease are either recovering well or have completely
Fulton Hogan chief executive Bill Perry died on Saturday after contracting
Meningococcal C. A colleague, a man in his 40s, is recovering well in Dunedin
Hospital after also being diagnosed with Meningococcal disease that has been
linked to Mr Perry.
A third case, a woman, also in her 40s is recovering in Christchurch Hospital
and Community and Public Health has established her case is not linked to the
A baby also reported to be in Dunedin Hospital with Meningococcal disease has
been discharged. The baby had W135 strain of Meningococcal disease and is not
linked to any of the other cases.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says it’s a credit
to the Community and Public Health teams for ruling out links between the cases
At this point in time there is also no reason to launch a vaccination
programme against Meningococcal disease, he says.
“If people have further concerns then they should discuss these with their
family doctor,” Dr Humphrey says.
“Meningococcal disease is not easily transmitted from person to person. It’s
transmitted only by close personal contact that allows the bacteria to pass from
the nose and throat of one person to another.”
The people most at risk are those who have been:
Living in the same
household and sleeping in the same room (for at least six hours)
Sharing air-space in
confined quarters for substantial periods (e.g. a six hour long car trip)
People in these categories may be considered ‘close contacts’ and prescribed
a short course of antibiotics to reduce the risk of developing meningococcal
disease. Community and Public Health staff have given advice and treatment to
all the close contacts of cases in the Canterbury and Southern District Health
The meningococcus bacteria are normally present in the nose and throat of
10-20 percent of the population and are frequently passed from person to person
without causing harm. On rare occasions they may penetrate the body defences to
cause an ‘invasive’ life threatening illness. This can usually be treated
successfully with antibiotics if the condition is diagnosed early.
Those who have been fully vaccinated with MeNZB vaccine will have protection
against the epidemic strain of Meningococcal B disease only. The signs and
symptoms of invasive meningococcal disease include (not all symptoms may be
unwell’ and getting worse
rash (reddish purple blotchy spots or bruising from bleeding into the
headache, nausea and
neck stiffness, irritation by bright light.
The incubation period for meningococcal disease can be up to 10 days (usually
People with concerns about acute illness should contact their family doctor
or seek medical advice without delay no matter what time day or night.
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