This Meningococcal Awareness Week, Meningococcal Australia is urging all parents to be aware and SHARE the facts with family and friends to debunk the misconceptions around meningococcal disease.
Unfortunately we still see between 200 and 250 cases of meningococcal disease every year, and the great majority of these are caused by meningococcal B.
Sadly, it is in children under five years where the incidence of meningococcal disease is highest. Of those who contract the disease, five per cent will lose their lives, and around 20 per cent will have permanent disabilities.
Summer’s Story – Kendall Axford (Summer’s Mum)
My name is Kendall Axford. Our story begins on the 12th June 2012. The day started like a usual day….
During the day, our then 18 month old and I had played at home and in the afternoon my partner Brenton took her to the local pond to feed the ducks.
I was on evening shift that day and was at work when I received a strange picture message from Brenton. The picture was of our daughter’s shoulder showing what looked like mozzie bites. I asked him to keep an eye on her and that I would be home at around 11pm.
When I returned home, I went about my usual routine of having something to eat and a shower. On my way to bed I stopped by Summer’s room to kiss her goodnight. When I touched her, she was incredibly hot. I immediately picked her up and took her temperature. I was gob smacked with the reading and was immediately very concerned. It took some gentle shaking to wake her up as she was very groggy and lethargic. I woke Brenton up in shock and panic. We attempted to give her paracetamol for the fever, but she began to throw up violently.
I wrapped her in a towel and urged Brenton to drive us immediately to the hospital, as I knew deep down that something was not right. The whole way to the hospital my heart was racing, not knowing if she could choke on her vomit or why she was so so sick.
At the hospital the doctor asked if she had any marks on her skin or signs of a rash, and that’s when it hit us. Yes, she had strange marks on her shoulder! He checked her over but was not entirely worried as he was convinced it was chicken pox. Summer was given some antibiotics and by morning she seemed well enough to go home. I was confused, tired and worried but trusted the doctor’s advice and went home.
Once home, Summer suddenly went limp and weak in my arms and immediately her temperature spiked again. I was just about to call the hospital when the doctor phoned and my heart broke as he explained of a bug that was growing in her blood. We were transferred to a larger hospital in Cairns.
After what seemed like an eternity of sleepless nights in the isolation room, countless needles and drips we were eventually given the news that our poor Summer had contracted the “W strain” of meningococcal disease. The doctors explained that the W strain was very rare in Australia, with B strain being the most common (no vaccine available) and C strain whilst once high is now very low now due to immunisation of babies at 12 months of age.
We aren’t sure of how or where our little angel caught this disease but because of early detection and fast response our daughter is a happy bubbly three year old that suffered no side effects at all.