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NSW Health confirmed a Sydney woman in her fifties died after contracting the disease, while two others, a teen living in Sydney and a person in their sixties from the Central Coast, were diagnosed with the illness.

The two cases are now recovering, and authorities do not believe they are linked.

New South Wales central coast residents are asked to be on alert for symptoms of meningococcal disease.
People living in New South Wales have been told to be on alert for symptoms of meningococcal. (Microscopy)

NSW Health is urging the community to be on alert for symptoms of meningococcal disease after 19 cases were reported in the state this year – the majority the meningococcal B strain of the infection.

While the disease is uncommon, it can be fatal among high-risk age groups, including babies, toddlers, adolescents and young adults, NSW Health Director Dr Christine Selvey said.

“If symptoms rapidly worsen call Triple Zero (000) or go straight to your nearest emergency department, do not delay,” Dr Selvey said if the illness that can turn deadly within hours if left untreated.

WHO issues caution over new COVID-19 subvariant

“Meningococcal disease can be very serious, but early treatment is life-saving so it is important that symptoms are recognised early,” she said.

“We are urging the NSW community to be vigilant for symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated, and to seek medical assistance early if they are concerned.”

Indicators of serious illness include fever, a fast heart rate, cold hands and feet or a mottled look to the skin, difficulty waking or increased lethargy or confusion.

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Severe, unexplained limb pain
  • Difficulty waking up
  • High-pitched crying in babies
  • Severe headache
  • Upset by bright lights
  • Stiff neck
  • Red-purple rash which doesn’t disappear when pressed with a glass
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