ALARM BELLS

WARN­ING OVER MENINGOC­CO­CAL OUT­BREAK

The Weekend Post - - Front Page - DANIEL BATE­MAN daniel.bate­[email protected] ed­i­to­[email protected]­spost.com.au face­book.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairn­spost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost

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.

Pic­ture: ANNA ROGERS

LIT­TLE BAT­TLER: Tar­lina Barter and her daugh­ter Au­tumn Woods aged five months. Au­tumn sur­vived meningoc­co­cal when she was one week old.

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