Rash not a sure symptom of meningococcal disease

The diagram shows the two most common manifestations of meningococcal diseases and its symptoms. Picture: SUPPLIED

The diagram shows the two most common manifestations of meningococcal diseases and its symptoms. Picture: SUPPLIED

Update: 12:47PM DOCTORS monitoring the outbreak of the meningococcal disease have warned that the classic rash commonly associated with the disease is not the best symptom of the deadly infection.

National Advisor Communicable Disease Dr Aalisha Sahukhan said anyone with three to four basic symptoms; fever, headache, back pain and neck pain as well as the rash but not necessarily including it, could have a meningococcal disease.

Declared an outbreak on Tuesday, March 20, the Meningococcal Disease has two manifestations – meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia. 

“Meningitis is infection or inflammation of the lining of the brain. You can get it from other things, from viruses and other bacteria but this one also causes meningitis. So the symptoms of that are very high fever, bad headaches, very stiff neck, vomiting – those are the symptoms of meningitis,” Dr Sahukhan said. 

“For the septicaemia, the bacteria is actually in the blood so it affects the whole body.”

The doctor said the symptoms of the meningococcal septicaemia were very non-specific and urged that anyone with both the fever and the body pains must get medical attention.

“But not everyone who gets the disease will get the rash. It’s not the main symptom we promote,” she said.

An alert was sent to all health facilities a week ago urging immediate transfers of suspected cases to one of three divisional hospitals: Lautoka, Labasa or the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

Dr Sahukhan said an early treatment was necessary and added the disease had a very high death rate even with appropriate treatment.