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Presenting features of meningococcal disease, public health messages and media publicity: Are they consistent?
Aponso, D.; Bullen, C. (2001)
The University of Auckland Library
An open access copy of this article is available and complies with the copyright holder/publisher conditions. Aims. To investigate whether the presenting features of meningococcal disease as promoted in public health awareness material and in the print media accurately reflect the clinical features in patients admitted to Auckland hospitals with meningococcal disease January 1998 to June 1999. Methods. Hospital record, public health message and newspaper article review, with analysis by presenting feature, age group and disease complex. Results. The most common presenting features were fever (95%), rash (65%), vomiting and nausea (64%), lethargy (62%), headache (44%), refusing food and drink (35%), irritability (33%), muscle ache and joint pains (27%) and stiff neck (26%). Public health messages gave appropriate emphasis to the key features, whereas newspaper articles under-emphasised these. The term 'meningitis' was used more frequently in newspapers (65%) than in public health messages (30%), despite meningitis alone presenting less frequently (38% of cases) than meningococcal septicaemia, and having a less serious prognosis. Conclusions. Presenting features currently noted in the appropriate. Public health's education resource material are appropriate. Public health specialists dealing with the media should ensure that appropriate messages are incorporated into media reports. A greater use of the term 'meningococcal disease' by both public health agencies and media would convey to the public the message that this disease has a spectrum of presenting features, with those of septicaemia more common, but also indicating an even greater need for urgency of action than with 'classical' meningitic features.View record details