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'Kids are just so vulnerable' - Brave mum's meningococcal warning to parents after losing her little girl

The Northland mother of seven-year-old Alexis Albert, who died of meningococcal disease in July, is urging parents not to hesitate when it comes to your child's health.

Mother of four, Rowshae Albert, says she wishes Northland health authorities had issued early warnings about the rise of the disease in the region.

"I lost my baby and that might have been prevented if they had alerted the community and warned people of the signs and that meningococcal was possibly on the rise.

"We could have been more aware and maybe taken the symptoms more seriously. My baby could possibly still be here."

The Northern Advocate reports that the Northland District Health Board has rejected claims it didn't act quickly enough to let its community know of the killer virus.

That's despite an in-house memo in May, warning staff to immunise their own kids with one of the newer vaccinces.

Since then, three Northland people had dies, including Alexis.

In July, Alexis had come home from school complaining of a headache. The Hikurangi mum gave her daughter some water and paracetamol and kept her home from school.

Two days later, Alexis started vomiting and had diarrhoea, and after Albert noticed bruising on her daughter's face, she rushed Alexis to Whangārei Hospital

"I carried her in my arms and the doctors straight away said it was meningococcal."

At Starship the disease "engulfed" Alexis but after trying to resuscitate her for a sixth time, the "fighter's" body gave up.

There have been 24 cases nationwide of meningococcal this year and six deaths, half of those deaths in Northland.

Albert says parents need more education around the symptoms of the disease and about vaccinations.

"I think it's important for families in Northland to be on alert with children at all times and I don't want another family to go through what we have, especially if it can be prevented with vaccines.

"It's been a huge storm for me and my family. We're still coming to terms with losing our baby but we are getting stronger and gaining strength. So many people in the community have helped us, it's been amazing."

"Don't hesitate, you don't have time. If your child is complaining of a headache and a stiff neck take them to the doctor or hospital as soon as possible," Albert urged.

"Tell the doctors you want them tested for meningococcal.

"Kids are just so vulnerable."

Alexis Albert loved netball and had earned a number of "Player of the Day" awards.
Alexis Albert loved netball and had earned a number of "Player of the Day" awards. Source: 1 NEWS