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Splendor in the Grass Festival: What You Need to Know About Meningococcus

NSW Health has issued a meningococcal disease public health alert after two cases were reported among people attending this year’s Splendor in the Grass music festival in northern NSW .

Meningococcus is a contagious infection classified as a medical emergency by health authorities because it can be fatal within hours. Infection occurs when meningococcal bacteria, which are latent in many people, enter the throat and enter the bloodstream, causing poisoning.

A man in his 40s died after contracting the virus at a festival in North Byron Parklands from July 21-24. Another case has been identified by NSW Health, but details are unknown.

NCA NewsWire said: infectious disease specialist Dr. Robert Boohy answers your questions about fast-acting diseases.

Is it possible that you got sick on Splendor?

According to Dr. Booey, being in close proximity to festival attendees means that the chances of spreading the infection increase.

“There are many examples of people going to festivals and football stadiums, but we have had two, three, up to four cases,” he said.

“It’s not common, but it’s well-recognized and caused by close contact, crowding, and standing next to each other singing, dancing, or yelling.”

A professor at the University of Sydney pointed out that singing and shouting (a required activity at the festival) releases many particles into the air that are inhaled by nearby people.

If someone had a dormant meningococcal bacterium and released it while singing, it could easily infect nearby liberals.

Dr. Booey also warned that kissing is a sure way to spread the infection.

How can I tell if I have meningococcal infection?

NSW Health warns that symptoms can appear suddenly and can quickly become very serious.

Dr. Booey said people should be very vigilant if they think they’ve been exposed to an illness, and urged festival-goers to monitor their symptoms closely.

“Headaches, fevers, rashes, and rashes are little spots that don’t go away when you press them,” he said.

“If you are not feeling well, you may notice that your hands and feet are very cold.”

Health advice for New South Wales lists other symptoms such as severe limb pain, lethargy, sensitivity to bright light, and neck stiffness.

Dr. Booey said people have a “golden hour” window of 12 to 36 hours to identify meningococcal symptoms and get treatment right away.

“The golden hour is the time when you’re feeling unwell, your blood pressure is dropping, and you’re developing shock,” said the former clinical research director for the National Immunization Research and Surveillance Center at Westmead Children’s Hospital.

“In the meantime, treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics can save lives.”

He urged anyone who felt unwell to see a doctor or go to the hospital if they were feeling very unwell.

What should I do if I think I am infected?

Dr. Booey said the best thing to do is keep an eye on your peers and other attendees and monitor your symptoms.

“If you’ve been to Splendor in the Grass, you should look out for your friends and partners,” he said.

“Make sure your drowsiness isn’t just a headache, it’s just a hangover, it could actually be an infection.”

will i die?

Infectious disease experts say 1 in 10 meningococcal cases die in Australia.

“Most cases survive with disabilities,” Dr. Booy said.

NSW Health reports that 40% of meningococcal cases result in permanent disability, ranging from limb loss to learning disabilities.

How can I protect myself from meningococcus?

As we have heard many times over the past two years, vaccination is the key to prevention.

Older readers will remember that there was a meningococcal outbreak in Australia in the early 1990s before vaccination was introduced to all children in 2003.

The National Immunization Program now provides free meningococcal vaccines to 12-month-old infants, 10-year-old adolescents, and people with certain medical conditions.

NSW Health reports 15 meningococcal cases have spiked in the state this year after a two-year grace period due to closed borders.

Dr. Booey said the number of meningococcal cases is below pre-pandemic levels.

first published as What you need to know about meningococcal cases in Splendor in the Grass

Splendor in the Grass Festival: What You Need to Know About Meningococcus

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