Health care professionals on New Zealand’s South Island have been told to be extra vigilant after 4 cases of a rare and aggressive type of meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis type C) were confirmed. One patient has died (a well-known construction company CEO and father of three), and three others remain hospitalized. The individuals hospitalized include a colleague of the deceased CEO, a Christchurch woman in her 40s, and a toddler in a Dunedin Hospital. All are expected to make a full recovery. What has made this outbreak particularly unusual is the confirmation by public health officials that there is nothing linking the two men with the woman or toddler.
Anyone with suspected infection with meningococcal disease should seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms can develop quickly and include nausea, fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.