Health Warnings

Questions That Might Help Save a Child’s Life: Aussie Families Share Meningococcal Disease Stories

We often hear about meningococcal disease in the media but rarely dig deep to hear the full story. Today, these three Australian families share their experience.

Like so many cases we hear of, the disease took hold quickly and unexpectedly, and in all cases, these Australian parents nearly lost their child to the disease.

What we learn from them is so powerful, and they speak up in the hope that other families won’t have to go through the same experience as they did.

Know Meningococcal

Meningococcal disease is rare but potentially deadly [i]. If not recognised quickly and treated in time [ii], it can cause serious long-term disabilities, including brain damage, deafness and limb loss. The disease can kill up to one in 10 [iii] of those infected.

Whilst routine childhood vaccinations protect against one type of meningococcal disease, the Know Meningococcal campaign urges Australian parents to be fully aware of the options when it comes to the health of their family.

The team at Mum Central encourage you to please read and watch these touching stories and speak to your GP about how to help protect against all common meningococcal disease strains.

Meningococcal Disease – What We Need to Know

  • Know the symptoms:  The quicker meningococcal disease is identified and treated the less severe the possible impact.
  • Know your child:   If you suspect meningococcal disease it is imperative to act immediately.
  • Know what your child has been vaccinated against:  There are multiple strains of meningococcal disease. Not all vaccinations protecting against these are included in the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

mum centralRiley’s Story 

“I hope that by sharing my family’s story, I can help build greater awareness – even if it’s just one family, not going through what we’ve been through…”

Riley was one year old when he contracted meningococcal disease. By the time he arrived to hospital for emergency care he was covered head to toe in purple rash. Riley won the battle against meningococcal disease but not without sacrifice. Both of his hands and legs have now been amputated….

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Jenna’s Story

“Appreciate what you have, and try to do your best to protect your family. You can’t be complacent and think ‘it’s never going to happen to us’… “

When Jenna began displaying common signs of childhood illness, her mum didn’t think it could be meningococcal disease because she had received all of her routine childhood vaccinations. Unfortunately, Jenna was infected with a different type of meningococcal that was not covered by the vaccine she had received…

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Jazzy’s Story

“Parents need to know that just because their child has had all of their routine vaccinations, it doesn’t mean they’re protected….”

Finding out Jazmyn had meningococcal disease was a huge shock to her parents. They believed she was protected and had no idea there were other strains and other vaccinations. Jazmyn’s mum encourages every parent to ‘Ask the questions’ she knows it ‘might just save your child’s life…’

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Know The Symptoms of Meningococcal Disease

As a parent, meningococcal disease can be tricky to identify because it presents with many of the symptoms of normal childhood illness.

Early recognition and treatment of meningococcal disease, however, offers the best chance of recovery.

Early symptoms can include:

  • High fever
  • Refusal to eat
  • Difficulty waking or extreme tiredness
  • High-pitched or moaning cry
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Pale, grey or blotchy skin
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Cold hands and feet
  • In infants, a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on top of the head)

Get urgent medical advice from your doctor or the hospital if you are in any way concerned that you or someone you know is presenting symptoms consistent with meningococcal disease.

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know-meningococcal-logoAsk The Questions! Get The Information You Need To Help Protect Your Child.

Your GP can help protect your family. Routine childhood vaccinations provides protection against one type of meningococcal disease, however, there are three strains that cause the majority of meningococcal disease in Australia [iv]. This means children can still be exposed to other strains. Speak to your family doctor to find out how to help protect against all strains of the disease. For more information visit

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[i] Rosenstein NE et al. N Engl J Med 2001; 344(18): 1378–88; Thompson MJ et al. Lancet2006; 367(9508): 397–403.

[ii] WHO Meningococcal Fact Sheet.

[iii] CDC VPD manual Chapter 8: Meningococcal disease.

[iv] National Immunisation Program Schedule; World Health Organization (WHO). Meningococcal Meningitis fact sheet no. 141, 2015.

This has been a sponsored post for

This blog spot was sponsored by GSK. Mum central has partnered with GSK to increase knowledge and understanding of meningococcal disease, and to help prevent the spread and impact of this devastating disease. This post aims to be informational and does not constitute professional medical advice, please see your GP for more information.

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