Fears grow as baby dies
THE baby daughter of a well-known Sunshine Coast footballer has died from meningococcal and her cousin has reportedly contracted the deadly disease.
Harmony Wright, the three-month-old daughter of Bribie Island Warrigals rugby league player Craig Wright and his wife Jaimee, died last Thursday.
Harmony's 17-year-old cousin, identified in a TV news bulletin as Chloe, has reportedly also caught the disease and is now being treated in hospital.
The Wright family was in quarantine yesterday and being treated with antibiotics.
Harmony's grandmother, Vikki Muir, spoke to Seven News Brisbane by phone of the family's tragic ordeal.
"(The meningococcal) ravaged her little body. It was the worst thing I've ever seen," Ms Muir said.
While Harmony's family are now quarantined, Ms Muir said she was concerned they could have already passed on the deadly disease.
"How many people have I had dealings with? Could I have carried the infection and passed it on to them?" she said.
Ms Muir urged any families whose children break out in a rash to seek medical help immediately.
"If there is a small rash, take them to hospital.
"You don't want to go through what we've been through."
Queensland Australian Medical Association GP spokesman Mason Stevenson said researchers were within a year of developing a vaccine for meningococcal type B.
He said type B infected about 200 Australians a year, about 40 in Queensland.
"We are so close to this being the final winter that Australia will have to cope with this scourge," he said.
Dr Stevenson said because the disease was "somewhat contagious", cases often appeared in clusters.
He said victims were put into intensive care and treated intravenously with intensive antibiotics.
"Dead tissue may have to be surgically removed," he said.
Caboolture dad Sonny Page knows what it is like to be the parent of a child suffering meningococcal.
His son Dominic, now four, lost both of his legs, his left arm and his right hand to the disease.
Sonny said his thoughts go out to anyone who might be affected by the disease.
"We went through hell - the worst thing you could ever think of in your life," he said.
Family and friends are invited to farewell Harmony at a service starting at 1pm today at Great Northern Garden of Remembrance, 1 Tallowwood Dr, Deception Bay.