Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can affect all ages but is more common in babies, causing serious illnesses including meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning).
Early symptoms can be similar to the flu but quickly get much worse. Symptoms include:
- high fever
- sleepy, floppy, hard to wake up
- refusing feeds or drinks
- stiff neck
- high pitched cry
- skin rash
Early treatment with antibiotics is very important. If your tamariki appears very ill, especially if there is a rash, ring a doctor, or Healthline 0800 611 116 day or night. In an emergency, call 111. Don’t wait.
Vaccination from March 2023 is free for babies. All tamariki under 5 years old, who have not been fully immunised, can catch up for free until 31 August 2025.
Find out more: www.kidshealth.org.nz/meningococcal-disease