12 Sep 2011

Meningitis cases prompt warning

7:20 am on 12 September 2011

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says whanau in the north need to be on high alert for symptoms of meningitis.

Eight cases have been recorded in Tai Tokerau in as many weeks of which half were Maori babies and teenagers.

Mrs Turia says the symptoms, including fever, headache, a stiff neck and joints and vomiting, are similar to those of the flu but parents need to get their youngsters to the doctor very quickly if those signs appear.

She says the disease is spread in the same way as a cold, by sharing food and drinks, kissing and coughing, and it can become serious extremely fast.

Tariana Turia says all agencies dealing with Tai Tokerau whanau should be on the alert for signs of meningitis, or meningococcal disease in their clients.