WARNING OVER MENINGOCCOCAL OUTBREAK
A MOTHER whose newborn daughter underwent a spinal tap – without painkillers – after contracting meningococcal has urged parents to vaccinate their children.
Cairns public health officials have begun tracing people who have come into contact with a six-year-old boy who has contracted meningococcal.
The boy remained in Cairns Hospital yesterday in a stable condition.
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has declined to release any further details, due to patient privacy reasons, including the boy’s suburb.
Public health officials say they have traced those who have had close contact with the boy and provided antibiotics where appropriate.
The case comes after four children, including three from the same family, were admitted to hospital in Brisbane with meningococcal disease over the past week.
Atherton mum Tarlina Barter’s five-month-old daughter Autumn contracted the disease a week after she was born.
Autumn was flown from Atherton to Cairns for testing and emergency treatment.
“When we got to Cairns Hospital, they conducted a whole heap of tests, including a spinal tap,” Ms Barter said.
“She had no painkillers or anything, because she was so young.
“They would have just had to hold her down and stick a needle in her spine.
“After that, if you touched her just to hold her or whatever, she’d freak out after that for a while.”
Autumn recovered after two weeks. Ms Barter was told by doctors her daughter was lucky there appeared to be no long-term damage.
“It was the bad strain of meningococcal, the one that goes to your bones and through your bloodstream and everything,” she said.
“But we caught it just in time.”
She said she would be vacci- nating Autumn against meningococcal in five months, urging other parents to protect their own children against the dangerous infection.
“I’m really not enjoying these parents saying vaccinations can lead to worse things, when obviously if you don’t vaccinate you could, quite literally, lose your child,” she said.
LITTLE BATTLER: Tarlina Barter and her daughter Autumn Woods aged five months. Autumn survived meningoccocal when she was one week old.