Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4480..
(3) Has there been a meningococcal scare reported at Macgregor Primary School at any time throughout 2004 to date; if so, was the case confirmed as meningococcal;
(4) If so, why were other schools in the A.C.T. not warned about this case;
(5) What is the standard procedure that a school follows if a scare or confirmed case of meningococcal occurs.
Mr Wood: The answer to the member's question is:
(a) (i) Confirmed - Case attended an ACT school during the incubation period
(a) (ii) Confirmed - Case did not have any contact with the school during the incubation period
(b) Suspected -Meningococcal disease ruled out after investigation
In order to answer the members question it has been assumed that a 'scare case' is the same as a suspected case. Although all reports of meningococcal disease are investigated, public health action is only taken on cases that are confirmed by laboratory evidence, or if there is significant clinical evidence for meningococcal disease.
The level of school involvement in the public health action largely depends upon the level of contact the case has had with the school in the seven days preceding the onset of illness (incubation period), and those in very close contact after the onset of symptoms. For example, if the case occurred during a school holiday period the school would probably not be involved in the public health response.
Decisions regarding public health action are made in collaboration with the Chief Health Officer or delegate and the clinical physician. In all cases public health action is based on the Guidelines for the early clinical and public health management of meningococcal disease in Australia, endorsed by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia.
(2) (a) Notifications or 'reports' of meningococcal disease are generally made by hospitals/doctors not by schools. ACT schools that have had contact with a confirmed case of meningococcal disease are as follows:
2000-01 - none
2001-02 - none
2002-03 - Australian Defence Force Academy
2003-04 - Daramalan College
2004-05 (to date) - Macgregor Primary
(b) This information is not relevant as suspected cases, confirmed not to be meningococcal disease on investigation, do not require public health action to be taken at the school.