Vaccination for meningococcal

Free. The state government has extended the free vaccination program against meningococcal disease to every Tasmanian aged between six weeks and 20 years, those born from August 1, 1997.

This cohort has been identified as the group at greatest risk of contracting and spreading the disease.

Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious condition. Typically in Tasmania, there are five to six cases a year. Last year, there were 16 confirmed cases.

Meningococcal bacteria are spread through secretions of the nose and throat, and older teenagers are particularly at risk of carrying and transmitting the bacteria to others.

In a joint statement, Minister for Health Michael Ferguson and Public Health director Mark Veitch said it remains important for the public to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease.

Symptoms include fever, severe headache, severe muscle pain, and quickly becoming unusually unwell. Late in the illness there can be a rash. Infants can be lethargic, floppy and feed poorly.

Anyone who is concerned that they may be showing symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek emergency medical care.

For more information talk to your GP, visit www.health.tas.gov.au or phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.