Rare disease strikes on Coast: Would you know the symptoms?

A SUNSHINE Coast person is recovering after being diagnosed with a deadly and rare strain of the meningococcal disease.

Queensland Health is urging residents to become aware of the symptoms of the W strain meningococcal disease with a spate of cases in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

Australian Medical Association Queensland spokesman Richard Kidd told The Courier Mail that the previously uncommon strain was on the rise in Australia.

He said authorities expect the disease is going  to become an increasing problem over the next few years.

"It is a very nasty infection. At least we do have vaccines and hopefully the Government will follow England's lead and look at building it into our immunisation program.

"Of course, that comes at a cost to the country, but when you see these tragic cases, it's very hard to put a cost on a young person's life."

Symptoms of meningococcal disease:

Adults and children

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness or confusion-coma
  • Neck stiffness, joint pains
  • Rash of red-purple spots or bruises
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Vomiting


  • Fever
  • Fretfulness
  • Child is difficult to wake
  • Pale or blotchy skin
  • Rash of red-purple spots or bruises
  • High pitched moaning cry
  • Refusing feeds or vomiting

Source: Guidelines for the early clinical and public management of meningococcal disease in Australia: CDNA 2007