A Northland school is in mourning today after the death of a student from meningococcal disease.

The 16-year-old Kerikeri High School student died at Auckland City Hospital on Saturday night after being flown there by helicopter from Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf suffering symptoms of suspected meningococcal disease.

Read more: Young man dies from meningococcal disease after attending camp on Motutapu Island

Meningococcal disease had been confirmed as the cause of the teenager's death but the strain was not yet known.


Samples had been sent to an ESR laboratory in Wellington for strain identification, which was expected to take a fortnight.

His death has been referred to the Coroner and the teen had not been named by edition time yesterday.

Kerikeri High School principal Elizabeth Forgie was at school yesterday with colleagues and contacted students and staff.

"Our thoughts are with his family and his friends at this terrible time. We will be there to offer them all the support we can."

View of Motutapu Island from Rangitoto Island, in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. Photo / Supplied
View of Motutapu Island from Rangitoto Island, in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. Photo / Supplied

She added she had been advised by Northland District Health Board public health nurses that there was "no significant risk" of meningococcal disease to the wider school

The teenager was among about 190 people at a St John youth camp at Motutapu for people aged 8 to 18. The camp was scheduled to end yesterday.

Northland DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Simon Baker said it was "very tragic for the family of the young man who died, and for everyone at the camp".

"We acknowledge the young people, their families and the staff at the camp will also be feeling very upset and anxious."


Northland public health nurses had been talking to the family about who else might have been at risk in the previous seven days in which the young man was infectious.

Those who were in close contact with the young man had been given antibiotics.

"Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, and can be difficult to diagnose, so we are providing information to the young people and parents so they can be alert for symptoms," Baker said.

Symptoms included some or all of the following: fever; headache; vomiting; feeling sleepy, confused and delirious; loss of consciousness; joint pains; aching muscles; stiff neck; dislike of bright lights; or rashes, purple or red spots, or bruises.

People with concerns should phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 or visit a doctor.

In 2011 an emergency vaccination programme was conducted in Northland against meningococcal C strain disease because of an outbreak of that strain that began in the region during the winter.