A WA teenager is recovering in hospital after being diagnosed with meningococcal disease, the 13th case reported this year.
The Health Department said today it had identified the person's close contacts and provided them with information and, where appropriate, antibiotics to minimise the chance that the organism might be passed on to others.
Meningococcal disease is an uncommon, life-threatening illness due to a bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain.
Meningococcal bacteria are carried harmlessly in the back of the nose and throat by about 10-20 per cent of the population at any one time. Very rarely, the bacteria invade the bloodstream and cause serious infections.
Invasive meningococcal infection is most common in young children, older teenagers and young adults.
Symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, and severe muscle and joint pains.
The incidence of meningococcal disease has decreased significantly in WA over the past decade, with around 20 to 25 cases reported each year - down from a peak of 86 cases in 2000.There were 19 cases last year, the lowest number recorded in more than 20 years.