A new case of meningococcal disease has been reported at a west Auckland primary school.
A notice was sent out to the Green Bay School community yesterday alerting parents to the fact "a child who attends the school had been diagnosed with illness that was caused by meningococcal bacteria".
Principal Anand Muthoo confirmed to the Herald today that there had been a case of the disease.
"I got the information from the mother of the child that the child was diagnosed with meningococcal bacteria and she was in hospital," he said.
"As soon as we got the information about that we contacted the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) and they guided us with a letter.
"They went as far as to say our students were at low risk in terms of contracting that strain of the virus."
Muthoo said the student had not attended school since Monday.
"Our thoughts are with the family at the moment," he said.
An ARPHS spokesperson said it received a notification on Tuesday of a child in Green Bay with suspected meningococcal disease.
"The service has not received the results of the test for the serogroup," the spokesperson said.
An ARPHS letter addressed to parents at Green Bay School said, "even though this child has confirmed illness, you do not need to take action at the present time".
"There is no reason to make any change in the school routine and no reason for children to be kept home," it read.
"Meningococcal germs are carried in the back of the throat of about one in ten people at any one time but only very rarely cause illness. Most people who carry the germs become immune to them.
"The germs do not spread easily. Those who have had prolonged close contact with the person, for instance by living in the same household, are at slightly greater risk of getting sick. These people have already been identified and have been given antibiotics to stop the germs spreading," it read.
"Although the risk of another case in Green Bay School is very small, it is sensible to be aware of the signs and symptoms."
The diagnosis is the second this week, with another child in Palmerston North Hospital suffering from meningococcal disease.
The MidCentral District Health Board confirmed to the Herald yesterday that there had been a case of the disease.
Evolve Education general manager Kirsten Long also confirmed a child from the organisation's Palmerston North Centre had been admitted to hospital with the disease on Tuesday.
She said the child had not been at the centre since Friday and all the parents had been made aware of the situation.
A medical officer of health at the DHB, Dr Rob Weir, said it would be some time before it was known whether the case had the W strain of meningococcal disease.
So-called Men W is causing an outbreak in Northland, where the Government is paying for teenagers and children aged 9 months to under 5 years to be vaccinated against the disease.
Sixteen-year-old Dion Hodder, of Kerikeri, died at Auckland City Hospital in October after falling ill with meningococcal disease at a St John youth camp on Motutapu Island.
Another Northland youngster, Alexis Albert, 7, died of the disease in Starship children's hospital, after becoming sick in July.
The Ministry of Health said, when the Northland vaccination programme began last week, that there had been 109 cases of meningococcal disease in New Zealand this year, to the end of last month. Twenty-nine cases had been W-strain, including seven in Northland.
People who were concerned or confused about symptoms should seek medical advice straight away. Healthline could be called on 0800 611 116 at any time.
Any or all of the following:
• Feeling sleepy/confused/delirious
• Loss of consciousness
• Joint pains
• Aching muscles
• Stiff neck
• Dislike of bright lights
• Rash - purple or red spots or bruises.
Additional symptoms in babies and infants
• Being unsettled, floppy or irritable
• Refusing drinks/feeds
• Becoming harder to wake.
• For advice, call Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Source: Auckland Regional Public Health Service