Students in Years 10, 11 and 12 will soon be immunised against the potentially fatal meningococcal disease.
As part of a state-wide rollout, consent cards have been sent to eligible students in Mitchell Shire, with Council’s nurses to visit schools to administer the free injections later this month.
Immunisations will be against the W strain of the disease, which is the most common in Australia.
In recent years, diagnosis of the meningococcal W strain has increased significantly across Australia, with Victoria experiencing 48 cases in 2016 compared to 17 in 2015, four in 2014 and just one in 2013.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said it was important this age group of students were immunised against the disease.
‘‘This immunisation will be rolled out across the state to this age group on the back of recommendations from national immunisation experts that older adolescents are at increased risk of contracting the disease and are more likely to spread it to others,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘I urge students who plan to have the injection to return their consent forms to their school as soon as possible.’’
Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, it is very serious. About 10 per cent of the population carry meningococcal bacteria in their throat without becoming unwell.
Invasive meningococcal disease occurs when these bacteria enter the blood stream and cause septicaemia.
Meningococcal bacteria are passed from person to person by close, prolonged household and intimate contact.
For more information on vaccinations, visit www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au