Fa­tal menin­gi­tis case not in­fec­tious

Woman, 28, killed by rare disease

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

A 28-YEAR-OLD woman has died af­ter con­tract­ing a non-con­ta­gious case of menin­gi­tis in the Dou­glas re­gion.

The woman pre­sented to Moss­man hos­pi­tal with symp­toms and was trans­ported to Cairns Base Hos­pi­tal re­cently but doctors could not save her.

Queens­land Health prin­ci­pal me­dia ad­vi­sor Jim Guthrie re­fused to dis­close what type of menin­gi­tis caused the death of the woman but re­vealed it was not con­ta­gious and there were no no­ti­fi­able cases re­ported from the Dou­glas re­gion.

Menin­gi­tis is an in­fec­tion of the thin lin­ing around the brain and spinal cord and can be caused by bac­te­ria or viruses.

Bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis such as meningo­coc­cal is usu­ally se­ri­ous while vi­ral menin­gi­tis is com­mon and gen­er­ally mild but on rare oc­ca­sions it can be life-threat­en­ing.

Pub­lic health med­i­cal of­fi­cer for FNQ Dr Richard Gair said all sus­pected cases of menin­gi­tis re­quire prompt med­i­cal as­sess­ment.

“In older chil­dren and adults symp­toms of menin­gi­tis can in­clude headache, fever, vom­it­ing, neck stiff­ness, drowsi­ness, con­fu­sion and dis­com­fort by look­ing at bright lights,” he said.

“In ba­bies and young chil­dren symp­toms can in­clude fever, re­fus­ing feeds, fret­ful­ness, be­ing dif­fi­cult to wake and some­times have a high moan­ing cry.

“There may also be a rash, par­tic­u­larly with meningo­coc­cal menin­gi­tis, where there is of­ten a char­ac­ter­is­tic pur­plish-red rash.

“The symp­toms of vi­ral and bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis are quite sim­i­lar and it’s im­por­tant peo­ple seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion as soon as pos­si­ble if they are con­cerned they may have menin­gi­tis.”

Early di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment is im­por­tant and usu­ally re­quires hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion and an­tibi­otics for bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis, how­ever, there are no spe­cific treat­ments for vi­ral menin­gi­tis be­cause an­tibi­otics do not work on viruses.

“The spread of viruses that can cause vi­ral menin­gi­tis can be min­imised sim­ply by wash­ing your hands thor­oughly, with warm soapy wa­ter for at least 15 sec­onds af­ter go­ing to the toi­let, blow­ing your nose and be­fore eat­ing,” Dr Gair said.

“You should also avoid be­ing bit­ten by mos­qui­toes, which can spread viruses that cause mos­quito-borne diseases, some of which in­volve the brain.”

Bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis can re­sult in death, per­ma­nent dis­abil­i­ties such as cere­bral palsy and deaf­ness, while vi­ral menin­gi­tis can cause per­ma­nent dis­abil­i­ties.

There is also amoe­bic menin­gi­tis, which is well known in hot­ter states of Australia but is a very rare in­fec­tion.

It can be caught from stag­nant wa­ter in wa­ter­holes and in poorly chlo­ri­nated swim­ming pools, es­pe­cially when the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture rises above 30c.

Fun­gal menin­gi­tis is very rare and caused by some fungi but mainly oc­curs when the pa­tient’s im­mune sys­tem has been weak­ened by disease.

If you have any of the listed symp­toms seek med­i­cal ad­vice as soon as pos­si­ble or call the 24-hour hot­line for the cost of a lo­cal call, on 13 HEALTH (13 432 584).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.