Community members are urged to keep an eye out for symptoms of meningococcal disease following three recent cases in NSW, one of which was fatal.
A Sydney resident aged in their 50s has died from the bacterial infection, which can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and blood poisoning.
A Sydney teenager and a person in their 60s from the Central Coast have also contracted the illness, and are recovering. None of the cases are believed to be linked.
NSW Health has now issued a public health alert.
Those most at risk of meningococcal are babies, toddlers, adolescents and young adults, although anyone can get it.
While rare, meningococcal disease can be fatal within hours if left untreated, and can cause life-long disability.
"We are urging the NSW community to be vigilant for symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated, and to seek medical assistance early if they are concerned," NSW Health communicable diseases director Dr Christine Selvey said.
If symptoms worsened rapidly, she said, people should call 000 or go straight to the emergency department without delay.
Historically, winter and spring are the peak seasons for the disease.
Under the National Immunisation Program, meningococcal ACWY vaccine is provided free for babies at 12 months, adolescents, and people of all ages with certain medical conditions.
In NSW, the adolescent dose is delivered through the school vaccination program in year 10.
A meningococcal B vaccine is available to children from 6 weeks of age, and Aboriginal infants and people with certain medical conditions are eligible for free access to this vaccine.
For more information on meningococcal disease, visit the NSW Health website.
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