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Anatomy of an epidemic - an aeromedical retrieval perspective on the 2017 Meningococcal W outbreak in remote Central Australia


David Carpenter
Royal Flying Doctor Service Central Operations, Alice Springs, Australia


After working in Emergency Nursing in Tasmania for a number of years, David spent time as a locum Remote Area Nurse on the APY Lands in South Australia before qualifying as a Midwife. He has been an Alice Springs-based Flight Nurse with the Royal Flying Doctor Service since 2011.



In late 2017 there were 34 confirmed presentations of invasive serogroup W Meningococcal (MenW) infection in remote Central Australia, from a virtual zero baseline. Many of the presentations were atypical, with multiple further suspected cases also managed and transferred to the regional referral centre for further assessment. Although there were no associated fatalities, this presentation reviews both the impact and response to the outbreak from the aeromedical retrieval perspective, in conjunction with an initial and ongoing primary health-lead vaccination program.



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