A 12-year-old girl diagnosed with a probable meningococcal infection has become the fourth person in Northland this month to contract the deadly disease.
She was transferred to Starship Hospital yesterday.
Dr Jonathan Jarman, Northland District Health Board's medical officer of health, said this is the thirteenth case of meningococcal disease in Northland since July.
This is the fourth meningococcal case diagnosed this month. To date we have had two cases of meningococcal B, eight cases of meningococcal C, and are waiting serotyping on the most recent three cases. Of the eight meningococcal C cases, three people have lost their lives.'
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Dr Jarman said meningococcocal disease was not highly infectious and the people most at risk are those who lived in the same house as a case.
"This is not a disease you catch by sitting beside someone in a picture theatre."
A meningococcal C vaccination campaign was launched in Northland last month, targeting those most at risk.
Dr Jarman emphasised the vaccine being used had a very good safety record and has been widely used in Europe, UK and Australia since 1999. The vaccine does not contain live bacteria and it is not possible to get the disease from the vaccine. Only one dose is required to give protection in children over 12 months of age.
"We are aiming to vaccinate at least 85 per cent of everyone in Northland aged 12 months to under 20 years.
"However one of our concerns is that people who have been vaccinated for meningococcal B believe they have protection from meningococcal C - they don't. Even though they may sound the same - they are not," said Dr Jarman.
Thousands of Northland children received the meningococcal serogroup B vaccine during the epidemic of serogroup B disease.