In this section
Meningitis and encephalitis
Fever and petechiae/purpura
Local antimicrobial guidelines
Red flags in red
Note: a blanching rash does not exclude meningococcal disease (can initially be macular or maculopapular)
Examples of rash:
Click to see additional full size pictures
Investigations should NOT delay antibiotic administration
Meningococcal disease is spread person-to-person by respiratory droplets.
Patients should be isolated and droplet precautions continued for 24 hours after administration of appropriate antibiotics.
All cases of presumed or confirmed meningococcal disease require immediate notification to the local state authority:
Chemoprophylaxis should be given to contacts as soon as possible
Meningococcal B and ACWY immunisations are recommended as per the
Australian Immunisation handbook. MenACWY vaccine has been provided free through the National Immunisation Program (
NIP) to all children since 2018. From July 2020 the meningococcal B vaccine is also provided free to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. There is currently no vaccine against serogroup X.
All cases of suspected meningococcal disease in children.
All cases of acute meningococcal disease should be managed in a facility with the capacity to provide intensive care.
If these facilities are unavailable, the patient should be stabilised and transferred as appropriate.
For emergency advice and paediatric or neonatal ICU transfers, see
Kids Health Info: Meningococcal Infection
Last revised July 2020