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Health Warning After NSW Teen Dies From Meningococcal

A grieving mother has warned others to be aware of the potentially deadly symptoms of meningococcal after her teenage daughter was sent home from hospital a day before the disease took her life.

19-year-old Central Coast student Mischelle Rhodes went to hospital last Tuesday fell unwell with a fever and was taken to hospital via ambulance. She was sent home with painkillers but died the next day.

“The hospital did some blood tests, gave her Nurofen, gave her Panadol and sent her home,” said Mischelle’s mother Anjini Rhodes. “They said she was okay.”

On Wednesday morning, Mischelle’s condition worsened and she began vomiting and a rash was quickly spreading across her skin. Herr mother made the decision to take her back to Gosford Hospital.

“And she told me, ‘Doctors told me I’m going to die,” Ms Rhodes said.

Later that afternoon the teenagers organs began to fail and she eventually passed away.

“I thought she was going to be okay…[she was] such a healthy, beautiful girl. I didn’t think this was going to happen,” said the grieving mother. “It just took my beautiful girl away so fast.”

The teenager’s mother has now warned other parents to be aware of the symptoms and to not leave the hospital unless everything has been checked.

The symptoms of Meningococcal can include sudden onset of fever, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light and a blotchy rash.

Mischelle’s death is the second fatal case of meningococcal on the Central Coast in the past month following the death of a 38-year-old woman. The cases are not linked.

Across NSW there have been 41 cases of meningococcal this year, three of which were fatal.

“It can strike pretty much anybody and at any age,” NSW Health’s De Peter Lewis said. “We see cases at all ages and throughout the year, but this is actually the time of year where we tend to see more cases occurring.”

A free meningococcal vaccine is available for children aged 15 to 19.

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