A second person from NSW has died from meningococcal disease after attending a music festival this year, as authorities warn young people to stay alert to symptoms.
- Symptoms of the disease include limb pain, a severe headache and a red-purple rash
- There have been 29 cases reported in NSW this year
- The NSW executive director of health protection said vaccinations were the best way to protect yourself
The ABC has confirmed the teenage girl who is the latest person to die from the infection in the state attended Canberra’s Spilt Milk festival on Saturday, November 26.
Not-for-profit organisation Meningitis Centre Australia said the 18-years-old girl from the South Coast of NSW died at a Canberra Hospital, in a social media post on Monday night.
“Our thoughts are very much with the family and friends at this time,” the post said.
It comes after a Sydney man in his 40s died from the disease after attending Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass festival in July.
A third man in his 20s also died from the disease in mid-November.
There has been an increase in the number of infections reported in the past few weeks, compared with the same period over the past five years, according to the health body.
A total 29 cases had been reported this year.
Young people aged between 15 and 25 are the most likely to contract the illness as well as children under five, with the majority contracting the meningococcal B strain.
Symptoms include severe unexplained limb pain, a severe headache and a red-purple rash that does not disappear when pressed with a glass.
While the disease can occur any time of the year, it is more likely in late winter and early spring.
NSW executive director of health protection Jeremy McAnulty said early detection and intervention could save someone’s life.
“Meningococcal disease symptoms can appear suddenly and become very serious very quickly,” Dr McAnulty said.
“I urge everyone not to discount symptoms when they appear or assume it may be just a mild infection.
“If you suspect meningococcal disease, don’t wait for the rash — see a doctor immediately.”
He said vaccinations were the best way to protect yourself from the disease.
Some meningococcal vaccines are provided free for babies, adolescents, and people of all ages with certain medical conditions.
In NSW, vaccines are delivered at school in year 10.