Toi Te Ora Public Health is closely monitoring meningococcal cases in light of the outbreak of type W in Northland, but there is no evidence of an outbreak in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas.

Three deaths from the meningococcal W strain have been confirmed in Northland this year, half of the six confirmed nationwide.

The outbreak has brought up many memories for Rotorua mother Kushla Crimp.

Kushla Crimp, and meningococcal survivor Elliott, 9. Photo / Stephen Parker
Kushla Crimp, and meningococcal survivor Elliott, 9. Photo / Stephen Parker

Eight years ago her son Elliott was one of three children diagnosed with meningococcal in Rotorua in six weeks.

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He vomited through the night and by the morning he had a temperature of 40.9C and was difficult to wake.

Elliott was taken to hospital in an ambulance, and when staff removed his pyjamas they found him covered in a rash.

He was fighting meningococcal B and spent several days in an induced coma.

His left lung collapsed, and the disease took his right foot, areas around his knees, all his toes and two fingers.

Elliott Crimp, age 4, painting at Kidz First Children's Hospital in Auckland. Photo / File
Elliott Crimp, age 4, painting at Kidz First Children's Hospital in Auckland. Photo / File

This Friday he's going back to Auckland to get his latest prosthetic leg, to fit his growing body.

Kushla Crimp told the Rotorua Daily Post she "couldn't urge parents enough" to get meningococcal-like symptoms checked.

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Kushla said Elliott's meningococcal had had "a huge impact on everybody that deals with him on a daily basis".

"From his teacher aide at school and teachers to his brothers, and you know, me. Everywhere he goes he needs a hand with something."

Elliott's attitude to life is "I'm just lucky I'm here".

The 9-year-old completed the Rotorua Mini Marathon in May.

Schoolmates and parents chanted his name as he finished.

Elliott doesn't remember much about his menginococcal other than that "it was very painful".

He said kids that were nervous about getting vaccinated have "just gotta do it".

"It's either you feel pain for a little bit or you feel it for weeks maybe months... I know for a fact it's annoying having to be like this."

The Ministry of Health is rolling out a targeted vaccination programme in Northland for children aged 9 months to 4 years and those aged 13 to 19, to stop the outbreak.

Toi Te Ora Public Health said the Northland outbreak had not changed the meningococcal vaccination recommendations in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas but it was "a timely reminder" to watch for symptoms.

Medical officer of health Dr Jim Miller said the number of reported cases of meningococcal disease across the region remained within the expected range.

"However, we have had a change in the type of meningococcal disease that is occurring; three cases of meningococcal W have been reported this year."

The most recent case of meningococcal in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas was in September.

For more information
- Toi Te Ora Public Health - www.toiteora.govt.nz/meningococcal_disease
- Ministry of Health - www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/meningococcal
- If you or your whānau are concerned, please speak to your GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116