An 18-year-old teenager who attended Canberra’s Spilt Milk music festival last week died from meningococcal disease, an infection that can be deadly if untreated.
The ACT state government is warning attendees of the alternative festival to watch out for symptoms such as rashes, fever, nausea, headaches, and joint pains, as they might have been exposed to the disease during the event.
Authorities issued a public health alert, urging people to act immediately if they identify any.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerryn Coleman said that although the infectious disease is uncommon, its effects include life-long complications and death.
“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.”
According to NSW Health, there have been 29 cases of meningococcal this year, the majority due to meningococcal B strain of the infection. The festival-goer’s case marks NSW’s third meningococcal-related death this year.
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,” according to Coleman. Other symptoms include irritability to bright light, neck stiffness, limb pain, and vomiting.
Meningococcal disease is now uncommon due to vaccination, but there has been a slight increase in cases in recent weeks compared with the same period over the previous five years.
NSW Health says that the best way to “protect yourself, your loved ones and community from the harmful effects of meningococcal disease” is vaccination.