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FIVE Aussie Children Sick With Deadly Meningococcal Disease

Five Queensland children are ill with potentially deadly meningococcal disease, with a six-year-old boy the latest to be struck down.

The boy is in a stable condition in the Cairns Hospital as four other children battle the illness in Brisbane.

Health authorities say they have traced those who have had close contact with the boy, and provided antibiotics where appropriate.

The case comes after four children, including three from the same family, were admitted to Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital with the meningococcal disease over the past week.

The three children tested positive for meningococcal after spending New Year's Eve with family at the popular South Bank Parklands celebrations but are believed to have become ill after an extended family gathering over the holidays.

The fourth case in Brisbane is not linked.

Meningococcal is a severe but uncommon infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria invade the body from the throat or nose.

Close and prolonged contact with a person who has the bacteria in their nose or throat is usually needed for the bacteria to spread to others.

Symptoms in young children include fever, refusal to feed, irritability, grunting or moaning, extreme tiredness or floppiness, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, turning away from light, convulsions and rash of red or purple pinprick spots or larger bruises.

AAP

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