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Health warning issued after festival attendee contracts potentially deadly disease


People who attended the popular music festival Spilt Milk last weekend in Canberra have been warned to stay alert for symptoms of meningococcal after one attendee contracted the disease.

ACT Health issued the warning on Saturday, urging people to stay alert for symptoms of the potentially deadly disease.

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The person infected with the disease attended the festival on November 26, and is currently in Canberra Hospital, the health department said.

All of their high-risk close contacts are being identified and contacted.

“We are urging people who attended the Spilt Milk festival at Exhibition Park in Canberra on the weekend to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease,” ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said.

“One of the more well-known symptoms is a rash but this may not be present at all, or may come very late in the illness.”

While the disease is uncommon, it can be severe and can lead to life-long complications or death, she said.

“People can carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and not have symptoms, but pass it on to close contacts. If you suspect symptoms of meningococcal disease, please seek medical review immediately.”

A reddish purple rash is one of the symptoms of meningococca. Credit: 7NEWS

Children under five and people between the ages of 15 to 25 are at the greatest risk of contracting meningococcal, however there is a vaccination available.

Meningococcal symptoms

Symptoms of meningococcal include:

  • sudden onset of fever
  • headache
  • neck stiffness
  • joint pain
  • a rash of red-purple spots or bruises
  • dislike of bright lights
  • nausea and vomiting

Symptoms for young children include:

  • irritability
  • difficulty waking
  • high-pitched crying
  • refusal to eat

According to the health department, not all the symptoms may be present at once.

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Source: 7News