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The Chief Health Officer has issued an update on the increase in Meningococcal W disease in Victoria. A total of 48 cases of serogroup W disease were notified in 2016, compared with 10 cases in 2015 and four in 2014. 

Key messages:

  • Since 2014, there has been an increase in the number of notifications of Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD) due to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W (also known as serogroup W135) in Victoria.
  • All age groups have been affected, with bacteraemia the most common presentation. However several cases have presented with less typical presentations, for example septic arthritis or epiglottitis.
  • Be alert for presentations that could be due to meningococcal disease. Consider testing for Invasive Meningococcal Disease in older patients with atypical presentations (septic arthritis, pneumonia, epiglottitis).
  • Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines (4vMenCV ) provide protection against meningococcal serogroup W and are available on private script. These are recommended for occupational exposures, travel and certain medical conditions, and can be offered to those who wish to protect themselves or their family from the disease.
  • A one year free school-based vaccination program for Meningococcal W for 15 to 19 year olds will commence in Term Two of the 2017 school year.

Full Chief Health Officer Alert is available online

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