Hypervirulent meningococcal strain being closely watched

VICTORIAN health authorities are monitoring the rise in invasive meningococcal disease caused by a previously seldom-seen strain which can present atypically in the elderly.

Surveillance shows that the proportion of cases caused by Neisseria meningitides serogroup W sequence type 11 (Men W STII) has risen from 4% in 2013 to 30% in 2015 and it’s suspected that it might now be endemic.

The state’s Chief Health Officer has told clinicians that Men W ST11 should be considered as a differential diagnosis of atypical infections in older patients, including septic arthritis and epiglottitis.

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