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Sydney Sees Alarming Rise In Meningococcal Cases

In the midst of grappling with the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, Sydney is now facing another concerning health challenge – a significant surge in meningococcal cases. 

According to experts, the state has experienced a staggering 63 per cent increase in meningococcal disease during the first six months of 2023.

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On today’s episode of This Arvo in Sydney, we talked to Professor Robert Booy, an infectious disease expert from the University of Sydney, to learn more about meningococcal disease and its preventive measures.

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection that primarily affects the brain’s lining and can lead to meningitis or blood poisoning. 

The infection typically peaks during winter, especially in July, August, and September, driven by the prevalence of viral outbreaks like influenza. 

Professor Booy explained that meningococcal disease can lead to severe symptoms like severe headaches, fever, vomiting, stiff neck, and aversion to bright lights (meningitis) or cold hands and feet.

Meningococcal disease is not only serious and deadly, causing death in up to 10 per cent of cases, but it’s very rapid,”

Professor Booy said.

It’s the kind of disease where you’re much better off trying to prevent it with vaccination than recognise it early,

he said.

Professor Booy said most general practitioners would only see one or two cases in their professional careers.

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Even if you survive, 20 per cent or more people are left with neurological and psychological and skin problems like scarring, amputation, and difficulty with memory.” 

To mitigate the spread of this dangerous disease, Professor Boy said it would be necessary for babies and teens to establish routine vaccinations.

Hosted by Sacha Barbour, This Arvo in Sydney is a 10 to 12 minute daily news podcast made just for Sydney! Listen now on the Listnr app.