Nick Marsionis
Nick Marsionis Charlotte Lam

Man with meningococcal is on the improve: hospital

UPDATE, MONDAY 10AM:

THE condition of meningococcal patient and Whitsunday man Nick Marsionis has improved with a Townsville Hospital spokesman reporting his condition has been upgraded to stable.

There is no indication at this time of when he will be released or the full extent of his injuries.

EARLIER, FRIDAY 8.30AM: 

A TOWNSVILLE Hospital spokeswoman said meningococcal patient Nick Marsionis is still in a critical but stable condition.

EARLIER, THURSDAY 6PM: 

"MENINGOCOCCAL."

The one-word post on the wall of a Facebook group by Davin Slattery had the Whitsundays community confused, upset and sharing links and advice about signs and symptoms of the disease.

The reality behind the simple post was more serious than first glance, as Mr Slattery's mate Nick Marsionis fights for life in Townsville Hospital.

"(He) contracted meningococcal septicaemia… he is going to lose both arms and legs," Mr Slattery posted on Facebook.

Queensland Health has confirmed a Whitsunday resident had contracted the disease.

Mr Slattery said both he and Nick, a 46-year-old Riordanvale man, were "devastated" at the thought of Nick losing his limbs.

"If he even survives… when I saw him he still had his limbs but they were well and truly dead," Mr Slattery said.

While he said he didn't know the full details of what happened to his friend, Mr Slattery said he believed Nick became sick a week or two ago.

"His house mate called Dr to you... then they rang the ambulance and flew him to ICU in Townsville where he awaits his fate," Mr Slattery said.

"I drove to Townsville when I heard he'd opened his eyes... and I asked the nurse (who told me he might lose his limbs).

"I actually saw him and he knew I was there... I didn't know what to say to him."

Mr Slattery said what he knew about the disease was that it could affect people very quickly.

"Once meningococcal takes hold mate you've got hours to get help or it will kill you," he said. "There's no cure."

EARLIER: A Whitsunday resident has contracted meningococcal disease and is being treated in Townsville Hospital, Queensland Health has confirmed. 

Townsville Public Health Unit director Dr Steven Donohue said they had traced those in close household contact, providing information and prophylactic antibiotics where appropriate. 

"There was limited close contact with others and the risk to contacts and the broader community is very low," he said. 

With speculation running wild online following a Facebook post by a friend of the man, Dr Donohue advised the community it was difficulty to contract the disease. 

"At any given time, meningococcal bacteria are carried harmlessly at the back of the throat or in the nose in about 10% of the population," he said. 

"While the bacteria can spread via droplets from the nose or throat during coughing and sneezing, close and prolonged contact with a person who has the bacteria in their nose or throat is usually needed for the bacteria to spread to others." 

The post by Davin Slattery has garnered a significant response. 

"Yes, I have heard of some cases," Tina Cionti wrote. 

"I've heard of a case in town too," Rebecca Woods added. 

Dr Donohue reiterated it was not easy to transfer the disease, advising people to be aware but not alarmed. 

"Sharing saliva through, for example, sharing cups, drinks or cigarettes is not considered to be a way of spreading the disease," he said. 

"Meningococcal bacteria cannot live long outside of the body so the infection cannot be picked up from water supplies, swimming pools, bed linen or pillows." 

Some strains can be prevented by getting a vaccination under the National Immunisation Program, available from one-year-old. 

Mr Slattery yesterday updated his social media post saying his friend would lose his limbs, but has been unable to be reached for further comment. 

Meningococcal, which causes a red rash, has been reported in the Whitsundays.
Meningococcal, which causes a red rash, has been reported in the Whitsundays.

INITIAL: THERE have been unconfirmed reports of meningococcal in the Whitsundays following a post on Facebook page Whitsundays Chat. 

The post by Davin Slattery, a friend of the man suspected to have contracted the disease, has garnered significant comment online. 

"Yes, I have heard of some cases," Tina Cionti wrote. 

"I've heard of a case in town too," Rebecca Woods added. 

Many began asking why no alert had been issued by Queensland Health. 

"Doesn't need to be an alert out as it is not contagious unless you swap mucous with the infected person," Nikki Soden said. 

Mr Slattery added to the post yesterday, saying he had put the post up for a friend he described as "an outgoing person". 

"He is going to lose both arms and legs," he wrote. 

"So what is he meant to do now." 

Queensland Health have been approached to confirm the case.



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