Meningococcal disease – Australia

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Two cases of meningococcal disease were reported in Sydney, Australia.

The patients were two teenagers from Manly who are members of the same sporting club. They have been responding well to the treatment.

Photo: N. meningitidis (colorized in blue) with its adhesive pili (colorized in yellow), electron micrograph.

Neisseria meningitidis, often referred to as meningococcus, is a bacterium that can cause meningitis and other forms of meningococcal disease such as meningococcemia, a life-threatening sepsis.

About 10% of adults are carriers of the bacteria in their nasopharynx. It is an exclusively human pathogen it is the main cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults, causing developmental impairment and death in about 10% of cases.

It causes the only form of bacterial meningitis known to occur epidemically, mainly in Africa and Asia. It occurs worldwide in both epidemic and endemic form.

It is spread through saliva and respiratory secretions during coughing, sneezing, kissing, chewing on toys and even through sharing a source of fresh water.

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