Meningococcal Disease and Vaccination

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meningococcalMeningococcal Disease and Vaccinations

Just recently there has been a lot of information in the media about Meningococcal disease including cases in WA and across the country as well as vaccinations and their availability.

There are 13 strains of meningococcal disease. Invasive cases can cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood infection), as well as other localised infections including pneumonia, arthritis and conjunctivitis.

The most important thing is to be aware of symptoms of Meningococcal Septicaemia and when further medical attention is required.

Typical symptoms of meningococcal septicaemia can be non-specific and can include

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness

May also be associated with

  • Photophobia (difficulty tolerating light)
  • Altered consciousness
  • Muscle ache
  • Joint pain
  • Cold hands
  • Thirst
  • Nausea and vomiting

Not all symptoms present together and not all symptoms present at the start of onset of the disease. The well-known rash of meningococcal disease doesn’t always present, or can be a delayed symptom. Even successfully treated cases of the disease can leave lifelong health issues including scarring, deafness and neurological deficits.

Children are usually vaccinated against serogroup C at the age of 12 months as part of the standard vaccination schedule. Adults are welcome to see their GP about vaccination and vaccines can be purchased privately against serogroups A, C, W, and Y.

In March of 2014, a vaccination against serogroup B was released and the uptake of this vaccine was much higher than expected and the manufacturing company were not able to keep up with demand. There has been a shortage of this vaccine for most of 2016 and according to advice from GSK Vaccines dated November 2nd 2016 – there is expected to be a continued shortage into early 2017. New information on availability will be available then.

Parents wishing to vaccinate their child with this vaccine should consult with their usual GP and consider obtaining a script for these vaccinations. This vaccination is not yet available on the National Immunisation Program and is only available on a private script and purchased through pharmacies. Depending on the age of the child at the commencement of vaccination, will determine how many doses they require.

The Panaceum Group will aim to release more information in early 2017 when we are aware that stock is available again. The Panaceum Group Nursing teams are happy to assist with the administration of the vaccines once they are purchased from the pharmacy.

For any further enquiries, please speak to your GP, or call between 12-2pm Monday to Friday for a nurse to assist with your enquiry.


Panaceum Medical (08) 9920 8111

University Medical Practice (08) 9923 9999