Last Tuesday, 19-year-old Mischelle Rhodes was rushed to Gosford Hospital on the Central Coast of New South Wales with a fever. After a few blood tests, she was sent home with Nurofen and Panadol.
Her distraught mother is now warning people to watch out for meningococcal symptoms after Mischelle's condition deteriorated the next day and she returned to hospital with a fast spreading rash. She died later that afternoon. Her heartbroken mother, Anjini Rhodes, told 7 News, "I thought she was going to be okay".
Central Coast Local Health District Director Public Health Dr Peter Lewis has said that to reduce the risk of the disease being spread, clearance antibiotics were prescribed to those who had close contact with Mischelle and that, "If anyone in the community develops any symptoms of meningococcal disease, it's important that they seek medical advice immediately."
"Meningococcal disease is very uncommon in NSW and only two other cases have been notified in CCHLD this year and only one case for the whole of last year."
Ms Rhodes friends have taken to social media to pay their respects. Neisha Monteleone told Daily Mail, "She was a kind soul and a beautiful friend to all who will sadly be missed."
Anjini Rhodes has now released a plea for those suffering with similar symptoms saying, "Don't leave hospital until everything has been looked at and get all the blood tests"
So far, Ms Rhodes death is the third of 41 reported cases in NSW this year.
At the beginning of August, a 38-year-old Central Coast woman died by W strain of meningococcal disease. The strain that killed Ms Rhodes had not yet been confirmed but authorities believe that the two cases aren't linked.