Free meningococcal protection

Free meningococcal protection

Murdoch University Health (MUH) is working with the Western Australian Department of Health to implement a meningococcal vaccination program targeting young people.

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood or spinal cord and brain membranes. The meningococcal infection is more prevalent in winter and spring and common among children and young people, however, infection can occur at any age.

The State-funded vaccine program provides protection against strains A, C, W and Y (ACWY) and with run for three years starting in 2017 and ending in 2019.

“Domestic and international students aged between 15 to19 years of age are eligible for the free vaccine at Murdoch’s Perth Campus,” MUH Nursing Team Leader Lisa Cranfield said.

Ms Cranfield said on average there were between 10 and 20 cases of meningococcal disease in Western Australia each year.

“Some of the highest rates of meningococcal carriage and illness occur in 15 to 19 year olds,” she said.

“The disease is most likely to be spread only to very close contacts, such as people who live in the same household and sexual contacts.”

The Department of Health reminded Western Australians to be alert to the symptoms of the disease following a recent rise in cases. Symptoms in adults include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Drowsiness or confusion. For more information about meningococcal disease click here.

If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor or any of the health professionals at the MUH Medical Service on (08) 9360 2293.

More than 50,000 WA teenagers are expected to be vaccinated by the State Government-funded meningococcal ACWY vaccine by the end of this term.

The vaccine is also available for people over the age of 19 who wish to be vaccinated by their GP. The vaccine will incur a private fee.

Although treatable with antibiotics, meningococcal infection can progress very rapidly, so it is important that anyone experiencing these symptoms seeks prompt medical attention.

Source: Murdoch University