Meningococcal threat brings new push for vaccinations

AUSTRALIAN parents are being urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against meningococcal disease with rates of the bacterial infection peaking in the cooler winter months.

On average, the number of incidents of the disease rises to 26 cases per month from July through to September which is almost double the number of cases from January to March.

The symptoms can be similar to a cold or the flu, but those affected also get a rash that forms in purple blotches.

Meningococcal Australia director Kirsten Baker told ABC Online people are more vulnerable to the disease during the winter months.

She said the two most at-risk groups are toddlers and people in their early to mid 20s and the disease is spread by prolonged close contact, such as sneezing, coughing or kissing.

A Meningococcal Australia report shows many survivors of the bacterial infection continue to suffer from issues such as kidney problems and brain damage.