Two children, including an 11-year-old boy from Stratford, are being treated for meningococcal disease.

The cases have prompted a reminder from Taranaki District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Jonathan Jarman for the community to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of the disease.

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes two serious illnesses — meningitis, an infection of the membranes that cover the brain — and septicaemia (blood poisoning).

Jonathan says the DHB does not believe these two cases are related and both cases were diagnosed quickly and received prompt treatment.


"Both patients have responded well to treatment and should make a full recovery.

"Although meningococcal disease is a rare illness in Taranaki and these cases do not pose a risk to the community, it can be a very serious illness and people need to be aware of its signs and symptoms."

Jonathan says on average there are about one to two cases of meningococcal disease each year in Taranaki.

"We had three cases in 2015, none in 2016, one in 2017 and these are the second and third case so far this year."

Meningococcal disease can progress very quickly and may initially appear as a flu-like illness.

The signs and symptoms of the disease can include high temperatures, headache, confusion and sleepiness, joint pain, aching muscles and/or neck stiffness, a dislike of bright lights, nausea or vomiting and a red or purple skin rash.

If an individual is sick, check them often.

Don't delay to seek medical attention by either ringing Healthline 0800 611 611, visit your GP, visit urgent doctors or the emergency department.