A student at the University of Queensland in Saint Lucia has tested positive for meningococcal disease. The infection is known to be severe, yet rare in Australia. It is difficult to contract without close and prolonged contact with an infected individual but it is still considered an infectious disease. Thanks to an efficient protocol for handling the disease and the prompt action of concerned parties, the student has been given treatment and his immediate circle of contacts monitored and treated as a precautionary measure.

 

Damage Control

Photo credit: http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/

Upon confirmation of the student’s disease, all of his recent, close contacts were given antibiotics to reduce the risk of them contracting the disease.

Initially, a person infected with the disease continue goes on with his daily activities, unaware that he has the disease due to the absence of initial symptoms, then experiences a more dangerous outbreak. Meningococcal bacteria are carried at the back of the throat or in the nose. Visible symptoms of the infection include high fever, joint pain, fatigue, stiff neck and a purple rash that spreads quickly.

 

Three Children Tested Positive This Year

This year, three young children tested positive for the disease in January. Queensland has recorded 37 cases of the disease this year, a lower figure compared to last year’s count of 47 patients.

 

Photo credit: The Healthy Bear

Vaccinations Are Free

Most at risk to contract the disease and its complications are infants and children up to five years of age. As part of the Federal Government’s free immunisation program since 2003, a vaccine against the type C strain of the bacteria are given to children at 12 months of age.

Vaccinations against the Type A, C, W, and Y strains are available for free as well, to all Year 10 students in 2017 through their schools’ respective immunization programs. People aged 15 to 19 can also avail of free vaccinations through their doctors until May 2018.

 

The Show Must Go On

Photo credit: University of Queensland

The outbreak of the disease did not stop UQ’s Open Day held on 6 August. The event was a success. There were a lot of participants who were interested to establish career paths through UQ’s help with the UQ Centre helping visitors decide the best career for them. Open Day also featured food stalls and other exciting activities. Open Day provided prospective students with a glimpse of uni life at UQ and everyone had a great time, notwithstanding the recent meningococcal disease scare.