It would not have been "appropriate" to warn the public of a "very frightening burden" of meningitis when she first became aware of the doctors six months ago, according to the Northland DHB.
On Tuesday, the DHB issued a media release warning the public to look for a "significant increase" in the group of W meningococcal disease in the region after three people died. The Ministry of Health also warned the emergency services and general practitioners before the growing number of cases.
In May, clinical microbiologist David Hammer distributed a letter to DHB staff, pointing out the "significant increase" in cases of Meningococcus W ST-11 in New Zealand.
The medical health representative of Northland DHB, dr. José M. Ortega, said the DHB had challenged allegations that the public should have been warned about meningococcal W strain (MenW) earlier.
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"In May, we had two independent cases of MenW in adults that warrant close monitoring," Ortega said.
"Without certain information, it was not appropriate to alert the community."
The new strain of meningococcus is "any form of infection" and has taken place randomly for no apparent reason, he said.
Hammer had sensitized the staff among the staff, because the presentation of meningococci is rather atypical than other tribes.
"We have continued to monitor and monitor the incidence of disease as is common in public health practice, and we are in the process of reviewing some historical epidemiological data on invasive meningococcal disease in the hope that this will help us make future decisions about our response will determine.
"The Public Health Team and Dr. Hammer are in constant dialogue with the ministry regarding this disease and [on Thursday] Attends the meeting of the Technical Advisory Group, hosted by the Ministry of Health, to begin working on measures to reduce the incidence of meningococcal disease throughout New Zealand.
"The DHB will be headed by the Ministry in the future," said Ortega.
This year, 24 cases have already been confirmed. Across the country, six patients have died of the W-strain.
Dr. Helen Petousis-Harris, research director and senior lecturer at the Immunization Advisory Center at the University of Auckland, said that the W strain affected people of all ages and was "extremely virulent."
"The number of cases caused by this burden has doubled from 12 to 24 since 2017," said Petousis-Harris.
"People who have this burden die sooner.
"To make matters worse, the signs and symptoms are slightly different from the usual ones, making the diagnosis more difficult."
Petousis-Harris said general practitioners are being asked to look for meningococcal disease and administer antibiotics if they suspect it.
"Meningococcal disease is rare but deadly and we have vaccines that protect against the meningococcal groups that circulate in New Zealand, including the new hypervirulent W and the B and C groups, which cause the most cases."
Hammer's internal memorandum said the disease tends to "spread rapidly in areas where younger people live, such as schools, hostels, barracks, and university campuses."
Northern teenager Dion Hodder was one of three people who had died of meningococcal disease this year.
On October 20, the 16-year-old was in a training camp in St. John Youth on Motutapu Island when he contracted the disease. Hodder was taken to Auckland City Hospital, where he died shortly before midnight.
His mother Todd Horton and stepfather Lance Horton said Dion had died of the W-variety.
Dion's mother said it was hard to know how she felt about the internal memo.
"It does not make a difference to us at the time," said Horton.
"Meningococci are one of those diseases that have been around for a long time and everyone knows the signs and symptoms, but I think we just need to know that in these newer strains some of these signs and symptoms are not so visible are not so prominent."
"I would hate to think that other parents go through what we're going through."