Boy dies of suspected meningococcal on day of diagnosis
THE mother of a toddler who died of suspected meningococcal disease at the weekend has remembered her baby boy as an "amazing little man".
Mason Harvey Marks tragically died at the Women's and Children's Hospital on Sunday after being flown by MedSTAR helicopter from Mannum Hospital.
The 18-month-old boy had been tested for meningococcal disease at Mannum Hospital on Sunday morning.
In a statement, Mason's mother Caitlyn Marks said she was still in shock and didn't want his death to be real.
"Mason was an amazing little man who will forever be in everyone's hearts," she said.
"He was taken way too soon by a horrible disease that took his life in a matter of seven hours."
Her sister and Mason's aunt Racheal Byers started an online campaign on behalf of the family to raise funds for his funeral.
"No words can begin to describe the heartache and sorrow we are experiencing at the sudden loss of Mason Harvey," she wrote.
"He was a beautiful bubbly little boy.
"A son to my sister Caitlyn and Ryan. A grandson to my mother Mandy and Tim and Julie.
"He was a nephew to his aunties and uncles, and a cousin.
"Mason was loved by all that knew him. He had a cheeky smile and an infectious laugh.
"Mason fell ill with what was suspected meningococcal disease (and) was rushed to Mannum Hospital in which the excellent team of doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to save his life.
"He was flown to RAH and transferred to Women's & Children's however lost his fight soon after.
"Family and close friends gathered to say goodbye to our now angel.
"We aim to give him the most beautiful and heartfelt goodbye. This little boy will forever hold a place in our hearts."
In one day, Ms Byers' campaign had raised more than $6000 for the family. To donate, click here.
SA Health released a statement on Sunday extending its condolences to Mason's loved ones.
Charlie Joshua Mason, a southern suburbs toddler, died in November 2016 aged just 16 months after being diagnosed with meningococcal B-strain, which is not currently covered on the taxpayer-funded National Immunisation Program.
Meningococcal is an intense bacterial infection that can cause death within hours if not treated.
In 2017, there have been three reported cases of meningococcal in SA and there were a further 27 cases the previous year.
In January, a 10-month-old boy was admitted to hospital in a stable condition with meningococcal B.
A five-month-old boy was rushed to hospital a few weeks later, eventually being diagnosed with meningococcal Y, an incredibly rare strain not often seen in Australia.
In February, a two-year-old boy was diagnosed with meningococcal W.
All Australian children are vaccinated against the C-strain through the immunisation program.