A TOOWOOMBA patient undergoing treatment for meningococcal showed signs of improvement at the weekend after being admitted to hospital last Thursday.
Darling Downs Public Health Unit director Dr Penny Hutchinson said the patient was in a stable condition in Toowoomba Hospital and was "certainly improving" from the potentially fatal disease.
Dr Hutchinson said it was an isolated case and allayed concerns it was easily contractable.
"Meningococcal disease instils a lot of fear in the community and that certainly is because it can be a fatal disease," she said.
"However, the disease itself is not very contagious and you really require close, prolonged contact for it to be transmitted.
"In our community up to 10 per cent of the population will carry the bacteria in their nose and throat and not have any symptoms or signs related to it.
"Things that do tend to increase the risk is some people (being) pre-disposed to meningococcal disease and things like a prior influenza-type illness (and) smoking."
Dr Hutchinson said the patient's movements prior to hospital admission were not released because it was not a viral infection, and the people they had been in contact with had been identified and given antibiotics.
"The (Toowoomba) case is not very infectious and is often somebody they have been in contact with that may have been carrying the bacteria so in order to reduce that spread, we find everybody who has been in close contact with the case, what we call a household contact," she said.
Early detection and vaccinations were the best defence and parents are urged to review their child's vaccine status.
Free meningococcal C vaccinations are available under the No Jab No Pay program from GPs, while meningoccal B vaccines are available privately.
Meningoccocal is usually more prevalent during spring months with summer diagnosis considered "unusual", but there had been a drop in the number of confirmed cases since the introduction of vaccinations.
"Because it can lead to quite invasive and debilitating disease quite quickly - within an hour somebody can be unconscious and near death, so really it is important to seek medical advice," Dr Hutchinson said.
The bacteria is spread via droplets from the nose or throat by sneezing and coughing.
Symptoms include a high fever, severe headaches, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, drowsiness and a rash which appears rapidly.
Babies may also become irritable, refuse to eat, lethargic and dislike being picked up. Phone 13HEALTH or seek medical help if symptoms are present.