PARENTS are being urged to be alert to the symptoms of meningococcal after a recent case in Frankston and another believed to be on the Mornington Peninsula.
The mother of 18-year-old Lachy Wright posted on a Mount Eliza Facebook site that her son had complained of a sore throat two weeks ago and within 48 hours was fighting for his life and placed in a medically induced coma.
Lisa Wright said her son was rushed to Frankston Hospital where he was diagnosed with meningococcal disease and given a five per cent chance of survival.
She said the doctors and nurses at the hospital were “heroes” who saved her usually fit and healthy son’s life.
Medical staff told her there needed to be changes in the current meningococcal vaccine in Victoria to save lives, with current federally financed vaccines not protecting against strain B, which is the predominant strain.
While children are vaccinated for free against meningococcal strains A, C, W and Y under the National Immunisation Program, strain B is an optional vaccination that costs families up to $360 a child for multiple doses.
Meningococcal bacteria are spread by close contact. Children aged under two, adolescents and young adults between 15 and 24, smokers, and people with respiratory tract infections such as influenza and COVID-19 are at more risk.
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, rashes and neck pain.
The mother is calling on politicians to list the vaccine on the NIP so families can afford to protect their loved ones.
It was reported that another case was detected recently on the peninsula, although the location is unclear.
South Australia and Queensland are the only states providing free vaccines against the B strain to children and teenagers. Meningococcal cases in South Australia declined more than other states after its meningococcal B vaccine program was introduced in 2018 to include children under the age of four and young people aged 17 to 20.
The uncommon but serious bacterial infection requires urgent medical care to prevent death or disability.
Last financial year in Victoria there were seven reported cases of meningococcal disease, including two deaths. Most cases were aged between 15 to 20, and their illnesses were due to meningococcal bacteria serogroup (strain) B.