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Kids and Meningitis Lock Rss

A few mums have been writing about this topic. This is some information I have had for a while.
I hope it may help someone.
It has a section on vaccinations.


1. Viral Meningitis is the most common cause of meningitis.

· It is rarely life threatening but it can make people very weak.

· It may be caused by many different viruses such as mumps and herpes simplex.

· Some are spread through coughing and sneezing or through poor hygiene.

2. Fungal Meningitis is rare in Australia

· It usually occurs in people whose immune systems are severely weakened by disease such as leukaemia or AIDS.

3. Amoebic Meningitis whilst uncommon in Australia is always fatal and is found predominately in the hotter states such as Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

· It occurs from stagnating pools of water or inadequately chlorinated swimming pools in temperature above 30 degrees.

4. Bacterial Meningitis encompasses Pneumococcal which is the most common form of bacterial meningitis, followed by meningococcal which is less common but more deadly.

· Hib has virtually been eradicated thanks to the national vaccination program.

· Streptococcal and E Coli are less common forms of bacterial meningitis.


· There are 13 strains of meningococcal bacteria with the most common serogroups A, B, C, W135 and Y been found in Australia.

· Group A causes large epidemics in Canada, Sub Saharan African countries, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
Cases of group A seen in Australia are associated with travellers returning from these areas.

· The most common groups in Australia are Group B & C.
Group B accounts for 63% of all cases of meningococcal disease and Group C 35%.

· Group W135 accounts for a small number of cases in Australia - the majority of which are associated with travellers returning from the Saudi Arabia or those who have travelled to meningitis belt countries.

· People who are travelling to meningitis belt countries are often vaccinated against A, C and W135 strains of meningococcal disease.

· There are more than 90 serotypes of pneumococcal disease. About 7-11 serotypes cause pneumococcal disease in children and about 23 serotypes cause disease in adults.


· Meningococcal disease includes two predominant patterns of invasive illness:

· Meningitis occurs when the meningococcus bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel up to the meninges. (The meninges is the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

· When the meningococcus bacteria enter the blood they can multiply uncontrollably and then release toxins that circulate in the blood stream causing septicaemia and organ failure. When the body becomes septic the walls of the blood vessels begin to leak and blood leaks out and collects under the skin causing the septicaemia rash.

· There is often a variable presentation and the patient may have either meningitis, septicaemia or both.


· Pneumococcal disease can cause 5 predominant patterns of disease.

· Meningitis occurs when the bacteria invade the lining of the brain and spinal cord resulting in inflammation of the meninges.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy or drowsiness, vomiting and stiff neck or legs.

· Bacteraemia occurs when bacteria invade and multiply in the blood stream.
Symptoms include fever, irritability, rapid breathing and not been able to comfort your child.

· Pneumonia is a very common result of pneumococcal infection and results in inflammation of the lungs.
Symptoms include a cough, chest congestion, production of phlegm, fever, chills and shaking.

· Otitis Media is the most common illness that arises from pneumococcal disease. It is inflammation of the middle ear.
Symptoms include earache, fever, irritability and frequent tugging of the ear. Children often have numerous episodes of Otitis Media.

· And sinusitis which is in infection of the sinuses.


· The meningococcal and pneumococcal bacteria occur naturally in the back of the throat or nose.

· The meningococcal bacteria occur in about 20% of the population without causing any signs of ill health.

· About 1% of these people may convert to meningococcal disease and usually when they have suffered from recent disease or the flu.

· It has been estimated that the average period of carriage of the meningococcus is 9 -10 months.

· The transmission of meningococcal and pneumococcal bacteria only occurs via human contact.

· It is transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets such as coughing, sneezing, during intimate kissing, sharing cigarettes, food, drinks or eating utensils.

· Once outside the body the bacteria die quickly.

· The incubation period is between 2 - 7days for meningococcal disease.

· If the bacteria has been transmitted to another person, they usually show signs of the disease within 2 - 5 days of acquiring the bacteria.

· This is why public health will give antibiotics to any person who has had close contact in the past 7 days.

· Children in pre-school have a pneumococcal carriage of up to 60%, children in primary school 35%; high school 25%, adults who have children in their household 18-29% and adults without children is reduced to 6%.

· The incubation period for pneumococcal disease is not well determined and varies, but it can be as short as 1-3 days.

· The period of acquiring carriage and converting to infection depends on the immune status of the person, their age and the serotype (some are carried for only short periods and are either cleared by the immune system or cause disease quickly while others may lay dormant for months, usually not causing illness but may in some people.

· Antibiotics are not given to close contacts of people infected with pneumococcal disease. (Australian and USA guidelines do not recommend it).


· Whilst there is a higher incidence of disease in the under 12 months of age, children under 5 years and the 15-24 year age groups, people of any age can contract meningococcal disease. (You will talk about this in later slides).

· There is an overall case fatality rate is around 10%.

· Last year there were 674 cases of meningococcal disease.

· There has been an small increase in the numbers, however this is due to better reporting of the disease, the growth in population and there is more people living in closer contact due to apartment living.

· Socio economic factors such a poor housing and health conditions also contribute to the increase.


· There is a higher incidence of pneumococcal disease in children under the age of 5 years, adults over 65 years of age and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

· There is an overall case fatality of around 14%.

· Last year there were 2363 cases of pneumococcal disease.


· Although carriage is relatively common at 20%, the disease is very hard to contract.

· Therefore the influence of external environmental facto

mum of 3

Thanks for posting such a thorough and informative piece!

Vic, mum of 4

Thanks Pauline, It's great to know that we all have such a wonderful, caring and informed person looking out for us and our babies. Meningitis is such a worry these days and your info has really helped to shed some light........Thanks

Erin,W.A. kids 12,5,2 and 1

i have a friend who recently had pneumoccal she was very sick she was given the last rites as they did know if she would survive

mum of 3 boys aged 11, 13 and 14

Her in NZ we have developed a vaccine to the B strain, as we are in the middle of a Meningococcal B epidemic. It is being offered free to all NZers under the ageof 20, starting in high risk areas.
Maya will be immunised next month. It is a little bit scary as it is a new vaccine and she has had an allergic reaction to her MMR vaccine, however it is better for her to be immunised than get sick so I will have her immunised.

Mum to Maya Grace 02-03, Sienna & Mercedes 10-06

I have heard somewhere that NZ has different strain problems than Australia. We have the B vaccine here in Aus as well, apparently it was the biggest vaccination program ever launched here. The pneumococcal vaccine is to start early next year and I will be definitely lining up to get that one. Apparently there is more of a problem in Aus with Pneumococcal now. The stats have changed from what I can remember?
I too get worried about the side effects of vaccinations. The number of vaccinations is increasing all the time and I am worried that in 20 years time we will be giving our little babies 50 vaccinations in the 1st year. Where will it all stop? I am pregnant with my third child and I am going to put back the immunisations to start at 12 months. I will be able to see any side effects a lot easier then, especially mental disorders like autism. There is no way to tell if a newborn becomes autistic from the vaccines, they would just say when it turns 4 or 5 that it was born like that. I have heard that some countries don’t start there vaccinations until the kids are 2........... Then on the other hand what if the babies died before 1 or 2 form a preventable disease. There are risks both ways I suppose.

mum of 3

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