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Teen Dies Of Meningococcal Disease After Attending Aus Music Festival

6 December 2022 | 2:24 pm | Dan Cribb

"If you suspect symptoms of meningococcal disease, please seek medical review immediately."

(Pic by Mackenzie Sweetnam)

A festivalgoer who attended Spilt Milk in Canberra on November 26 has died of meningococcal disease.

Over the weekend, a meningococcal warning was issued to anyone who attended the festival, with 9 News today reporting a NSW woman in her late teens has died after contracting the disease.

While it is known the woman attended the event, it has not been confirmed if that is where she contracted meningococcal.

After the festival took place at Exhibition Park last month, it was reported that an attendee was diagnosed with the disease and was in Canberra Hospital.

ACT Health issued a warning, urging patrons to look out for any symptoms of meningococcal disease and get help immediately if they identify any indicators of the illness, while contacting close contacts of the individual.

"We are urging people who attended the Spilt Milk festival at Exhibition Park in Canberra on the weekend to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease. One of the more well-known symptoms is a rash, but this may not be present at all or may come very late in the illness," ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said.

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"People can carry meningococcal bacteria in their throats and not have symptoms but pass it on to close contacts. If you suspect symptoms of meningococcal disease, please seek medical review immediately."

Some signs of the disease can include fever, headaches, neck stiffness, joint pain, red/purple spotty or a bruise-like rash, irritability to bright light, nausea and vomiting. Children and young people with the disease can exhibit different symptoms, such as irritability, difficulty walking, high-pitched crying and loss of appetite.

While targeted meningococcal vaccinations have rendered the disease rare, children under five years old and people aged between 15-25 are most at risk of catching meningococcal. has also noted that "meningococcal vaccinations are available for free for all children at 12 months, adolescents and people of all ages with medical conditions through the national immunisation program”.

Spilt Milk Canberra reported high demand for pill testing this year.

One festivalgoer spoke to ABC about testing her drugs ahead of the festival, explaining how grateful she was for the judgement-free opportunity for drug testing, allowing her to make an informed decision after learning the actual contents of the drugs. 

"I think it's really important for people to be able to test what they've got because, obviously, pills aren't regulated, so you have no idea what you're getting," she said.

The touring festival featured Flume, Stormzy, The Wombats, G Flip, Mallrat, FISHER, Genesis Owusu, Ninajirachi, Spacey Jane, A.GIRL, PEACH PRC, and more in 2022.