12 August 2022

NSW Health has been notified of a probable case of meningococcal disease in a child from the North Coast who attended the 2022 Splendour in the Grass festival. This is the third case of meningococcal disease in a person who attended the festival.

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.

People can carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and not have symptoms, but pass it to close contacts.

If you suspect symptoms of meningococcal disease, please contact a doctor immediately.

  • Symptoms of meningococcal disease are non-specific but include:
    • sudden onset of fever
    • headache
    • neck stiffness
    • joint pain
    • a rash of red-purple spots or bruises
    • dislike of bright lights
    • nausea and vomiting.
  • Young children may have less specific symptoms, these may include:
    • irritability
    • difficulty waking
    • high-pitched crying
    • refusal to eat.
  • Not all of the symptoms may be present at once.

So far this year, there have been 17 cases of meningococcal disease reported in NSW.

While meningococcal disease is now uncommon thanks to vaccination, it can occur year round. We tend to see increases in late winter and early spring, with children under five and 15 to 25-year-olds at the greatest risk of contracting the disease.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and community from the harmful effects of meningococcal disease.

Under the National Immunisation Program, meningococcal ACWY (Men ACWY) vaccine is provided free for babies at 12 months, adolescents, and people of all ages with certain medical conditions. In NSW, the adolescent dose is delivered through the school vaccination program in Year 10.

As of 1 July 2020, Aboriginal children up to the age of two years, and people with certain medical conditions, can also access free meningococcal B (Men B) vaccine. All children from six weeks of age can have the Men B vaccine to reduce the risk of infection.

For more information on vaccination or symptoms, transmission, risks and treatment of Meningococcal, see the NSW Health website.

If you require further information, please contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.