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Spilt Milk: Last hours of teen who died of meningococcal after music festival in Canberra

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A teen who died from meningococcal after attending the Spilt Milk music festival in Canberra first had gastro-like symptoms before she lost movement in her legs and couldn’t stop vomiting, it has been reported.

NSW Health made the announcement on Monday that the young woman was the third person to die due to the disease in the state this year.

She has since been identified as Ally Behan, 18, from Manyana on NSW’s South Coast.

A family friend told Daily Mail days after returning home from the festival on November 26 Ms Behan started experiencing gastro-like symptoms and then her condition worsened.

“She couldn’t stop vomiting and then she lost movement in her legs,” the family friend was reported to have said.

She was taken to Canberra Hospital where she was put on life support last week before her parents made the agonising decision to switch it off on the weekend, Daily Mail reported.

She was described as “a vibrant young girl” who was “full of life”.

The NSW education department said they were deeply saddened by Ms Behan’s tragic death.

Ms Behan had just finished up Year 12 at Ulladulla High School.

“Our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies are with her family and the broader school community,” a NSW Education spokeswoman said.

“Additional counselling and wellbeing support for all students and staff affected will be provided during this difficult time.”

Health experts have warned those who attended the popular festival to check for symptoms.

Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious and sometimes fatal infection.

So far this year, there have been 29 cases of meningococcal disease reported in NSW and more than 100 across Australia, according to Meningitis Centre Australia chief executive Karen Quick.

“The last few week’s it’s really peaked; spring and around Christmas time is when we see more cases,” she said.

Ms Quick also noted that there had been a higher number of cases this year.

The majority of cases have been due to meningococcal B strain of the infection.

Officials have not said which strain of the disease Ms Behan had, but Ms Quick told The Canberra Times the teenager was not vaccinated against strain B. It is the only common strain not included in the free meningococcal vaccine offered to Year 10 students.

Babies can receive the meningococcal B vaccine from six weeks of age and the meningococcal ACWY vaccine at 12 months.

Meningococcal symptoms

  • Severe, unexplained limb pain
  • Difficulty waking up
  • High pitched crying in babies
  • Severe headache
  • Upset by bright lights
  • Stiff neck
  • Red-purple rash which doesn’t disappear when pressed with a glass

Story Credit: news.com.au

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