Revellers who attended Splendour in the Grass are being urged to look out for symptoms of meningococcal disease after a probable case was detected in a child who attended the festival.
Health authorities confirmed the probable case in a child from the New South Wales North Coast in a public health warning on Friday, saying it was the third case of meningococcal reported in a person who attended the event.
The new case follows the death of a Sydney man in his 40s last week and the infection of at least one other festival-goer.
“Although the disease is uncommon, it can be severe, so we are urging people and their close contacts who attended the event in the North Byron Parklands on 21 – 24 July to be alert to the symptoms of meningococcal disease and act immediately if they appear,” NSW Health said in a statement.
As many as 50,000 people attended Splendour in the Grass each day, although the first day of the festival was largely rained off after a massive downpour turned the site into a quagmire.
NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said early intervention of the disease can be lifesaving.
“Onset of meningococcal disease symptoms can appear suddenly and become very serious very quickly. If you suspect meningococcal disease, don‘t wait for the rash – see a doctor immediately,” Dr McAnulty said.
According to health experts, meningococcal bacteria are carried by about 10 per cent of the population harmlessly at the back of the throat or in the nose.
They are then spread via droplets during coughing and sneezing or close contact such as kissing.
If the infection is detected early enough and the correct antibiotics are administered, most cases make a full recovery.
“While it is a well-known symptom of meningococcal disease, the rash does not always occur, or may present late in the illness,” McAnulty added.
Multiple of invasive meningococcal disease have been reported in Australia this year.
A Darwin man aged in his 30s died from the disease this week. He had not travelled interstate or overseas recently.
NT Health said all close contacts have been identified and notified by the Centre for Disease Control.
It comes as a second case was reported in a woman from Alice Springs, also in her 30s.
There is no link between the two cases.
In July, a two-year-old child died after contracting a case. The four most common meningococcal types in Australia are B, C, W and Y and vaccines are available to protect against them.
A total of 12 cases were reported in SA in 2021 – of which six were serogroup B and six were serogroup W.
There were three deaths from meningococcal disease in 2021.
Symptoms of meningococcal include:
– Red and purple rash
– Severe and unexplained limb pain
– Difficulty waking up
– High-pitched crying in babies
– Severe headache
– Upset by bright lights
– Stiff neck