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Meningcoccal Disease

There has been an increase in meningococcal disease in New Zealand over the past two years. Meningococcal disease can cause death or permanent disability, such as deafness.

It can affect anyone – but it’s more common in children under the age of 5, teenagers, and young adults. Students in their first year of tertiary education living in student accommodation may also be at higher risk. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease because it can develop very quickly.

Symptoms of meningitis can develop suddenly and include:

  • a high fever
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • joint and muscle pains.

There can also be some more specific symptoms, such as:

  • a stiff neck
  • dislike of bright lights
  • vomiting
  • crying
  • refusal to feed (in infants)
  • a rash consisting of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises.

If you or anyone in your family has these symptoms, call your doctor straight away or dial 111.

Several vaccines are available which protect against different groups of meningococcal disease – A, C, Y and W135, and B. These vaccines aren’t free, but they’re available for private purchase through general practices if people want them.

Please call us for more information.

BCG Vaccine 
From 24 July 2018, BCG vaccine will be able to be ordered by DHB BCG vaccination clinics from www.fundedvaccines.co.nz . The vaccine comes in multi-dose vials containing 10 doses.

Babies or children less than five years of age are eligible for BCG vaccination if they meet the following criteria:

they will be living in a house or family/whānau with a person with either current TB or a history of TB
they have one or both parents or household members or carers who, within the last 5 years, lived for a period of 6 months or longer in countries with a TB rate ≥ 40 per 100,000 (list available online )
during their first 5 years they will be living for 3 months or longer in a country with a TB rate ≥ 40 per 100,000.
Midwives should resume screening babies for referral to DHB BCG vaccination clinics. However, we do not recommend a catch-up programme for older children who met the criteria over the period the vaccine was unavailable. Parents or caregivers may request BCG vaccination for such children. These requests should be assessed on a case by case basis to ensure they meet the above criteria, and children under the age of one year should be prioritised. If the child is aged 6 months or older they should have a pre-vaccination tuberculin skin test to detect whether they have already been infected, with vaccination only being given if the child is uninfected.

Check if you child is eligible for the vaccine CLICK HERE