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SMS text messaging for contact follow-up in invasive meningococcal disease

Johanne E Cochrane, Chris Lowbridge, Patrick Maywood and Stephen J Conaty
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (5): 282-283.
Published online: 2 March 2009

To the Editor: We evaluated follow-up by SMS (short message service) text messaging of contacts of a patient with meningococcal disease. An 18-year-old woman from south-western Sydney was diagnosed with invasive meningococcal disease in July 2008 after presenting to hospital with a rash that appeared after a 2-day prodromal illness. The Sydney South West Public Health Unit identified the patient’s household and similar contacts, and arranged for these individuals to be treated with clearance antibiotics. The patient had visited a bar with friends 3 days before symptom onset. The extent of contact with people in this social network did not warrant treating them with clearance antibiotics. However, it was appropriate to warn them about meningococcal disease as recommended by national guidelines.1 A list of mobile phone numbers of 14 people who visited the bar with the patient was compiled by one of her friends. A text message was sent 2 days after the patient’s diagnosis to everyone on the list via a broadcast messaging service:

  • Johanne E Cochrane
  • Chris Lowbridge
  • Patrick Maywood
  • Stephen J Conaty

  • Public Health Unit, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Sydney, NSW.


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