CHP investigates case of invasive meningococcal infection involving 86-year-old woman

Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital 

26th May 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of invasive meningococcal infection, a contagious disease that spreads through direct contact with droplets from infected people. The patient in this case is an 86-year-old woman with underlying illnesses, who developed fever and vomiting on 21st May and was later found to be drowsy. She was admitted to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital on the same day and diagnosed with meningococcaemia. Her blood sample tested positive for Neisseria meningitidis upon laboratory testing.

The patient is currently in stable condition, and her home contact has not shown any symptoms of the disease so far. The CHP is continuing its investigation into the case. Meningococcal infection is caused by a bacterium known as meningococcus, which is primarily transmitted through respiratory secretions, including droplets from the nose and throat of infected individuals.

The symptoms of meningococcal infection can vary, with severe cases resulting in meningococcaemia or meningococcal meningitis. Both can cause a sudden onset of fever, intense headache, and purpura, which may lead to shock or death in severe cases. Meningococcal meningitis can also cause drowsiness, vomiting, fear of bright light, or a rash and may lead to brain damage or death. Invasive meningococcal infection can also result in complications such as arthritis, inflammation ofthe heart muscle, inflammation of the posterior chamber of the eye, or chest infection.

Meningococcal infection is a serious illness that requires prompt treatment with antibiotics. The incubation period for this disease can range from two to ten days, with the most common duration being three to four days. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they suspect they may have been infected.

The CHP advises the public to maintain good personal hygiene, including regular hand-washing, and to avoid sharing personal items such as utensils, towels, and drinking glasses. People who have been in close contact with infected individuals should seek medical attention immediately. It is also recommended that individuals receive the meningococcal vaccine to prevent infection.

The CHP will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary. The safety and well-being of the public are of utmost importance, and the CHP is working diligently to prevent the spread of meningococcal infection and ensure the prompt treatment of those affected.