Meningococcal disease – New Zealand
A 21-year-old student at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand has died from Meningococcal disease.
The source of infection is not reported in the article.
No other cases have been reported. The public health team has identified close contacts of the patient and provided antibiotics to prevent them from developing meningococcal disease.
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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