South Australian mum Tiffany Henderson knows all too well how quickly meningococcal disease can become life-threatening.
In a matter of minutes, her seven-month-old daughter Violet went from having purple-tinged lips to lying limp.
The Murray Bridge mum told Nine News she rushed her baby girl to the nearest medical clinic when this happened, but had missed the early signs of the often deadly disease.
“It just looked like teething symptoms, she wasn’t eating properly,” the mum explained.
Many parents will recognise meningococcal by its distinctive rash - which is actually a sign of septicaemia, or blood poisoning. But as paediatrician Dr Margie Danchin told Mamamia, the rash is usually not the first sign that a child is unwell.
The disease can also take hold in the body at first in the brain, causing meningitis - an inflammation of the brain or spinal cord membranes. In this case there will only be a rash if the disease is allowed to progress to septicaemia, at which point the child is very ill.
Tiffany Henderson was lucky that she got her daughter to emergency care before waiting for further symptoms.
It was only after being transported by ambulance to Roxby Downs Hospital, that she and doctors noticed spots starting to appear on Violet's legs and stomach.