THE meningococcal disease
outbreak continues in central Australia, the Barkly, Katherine and Katherine west regions. To date there have been 25 confirmed cases of meningococcal W with one case awaiting final laboratory testing. All of those affected in this outbreak to date are Aboriginal people, and 19 cases are children under 10 years of age. The Northern Territory health authorities are working closely with their counterparts in the other jurisdictions to mount a co-ordinated public health response to the outbreak. The NT Department of Health has identified the close contacts of these cases and provided appropriate antibiotics and a vaccine to minimise the chance that the organism might be passed on to others. This week a mass vaccination program is being rolled out in the affected regions.