December 9, 2022

Around 1,000 students are being given antibiotics after a deadly disease was detected at QLD school

Around 1,000 students at a high school in Queensland have been given antibiotics after three cases of meningococcal disease were discovered.

The cases were discovered at St Mary’s Catholic College in Cairns this week. One is a teacher and two students.

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Two of the patients are hospitalized, while the other is discharged from hospital.

On Friday, health authorities rolled out the antibiotics in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

Principal Wayne Wood said about 95% of parents gave consent for their children to take the antibiotics.

St Mary’s Catholic College in Cairns. Credit: 7NEWS

“Of course, we respect the choice of the parents who did not wish to participate,” he said on Friday.

Queensland Health issued a public health alert about the cases on Thursday.

The deployment of antibiotics aims to kill bacteria that cause meningococcus, which is carried in the back of a person’s throat or nose.

The rash is one of the symptoms of meningococcus. File picture. Credit: 7NEWS

“The bacteria can spread via droplets from the nose or throat during coughing and sneezing or from close contact such as a kiss,” Tropical Public Health Services Director Richard Gair said in the alert.

Symptoms include rash, vomiting, fever, headache, joint pain, and confusion.

Anyone with meningococcal-like symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.