Hallmark meningococcal symptoms revised

FOUR key symptoms have been confirmed as red flags for meningococcal disease but two other clinical features may not be as indicative as previously thought, researchers say.

Confusion, photophobia, leg pain and neck pain/stiffness were closely associated with meningococcal disease in a general practice study in the UK.

However, headache and pallor – previously identified as red flags – were more common in children with other febrile illnesses than in those with meningococcal disease, the study showed.

Other symptoms considered useful – cold hands and feet – were only mildly predictive of meningococcal disease, the researchers found.

They found the absence of two other presentations – drowsiness and rash – could be useful to “rule out” meningococcal disease.

They compared the symptoms of 1212 children presenting to their GPs with acute illnesses with the symptoms reported by