‘Beautiful boy’, just 20, dies of meningococcal disease – the 12th victim of the disease – as family and friends are treated to stop them catching it too
- South Australian Khye Hammat, 20, died in hospital from meningococcal disease
- So far 11 of his close contacts have been given emergency clearance antibiotics
- Remembered by loved ones and colleagues as a keen footy player and shearer
- In 2021, there have been 12 cases of the deadly infectious disease found in SA
A 20-year-old who died in hospital after contracting meningococcal has been remembered as a passionate footy player and a ‘beautiful boy’.
South Australian Khye Hammat succumbed to the deadly bacterial infection on Saturday, while 11 of those close to him have been given emergency antibiotics.
Mr Hammat contracted the state’s 12th case this year of meningococcal, a serious illness that can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
A fundraiser set up to support his mother Nicole and his siblings as they grieve said the young man suffered a case of sudden onset meningococcal meningitis.
South Australian Khye Hammat (left) died in hospital after contracting the deadly bacterial infection meningococcal
Mr Hammat, who was remembered by the shearing company he worked for last year, contracted SA’s 12th case this year of meningococcal
‘No parent should ever have to endure losing a child,’ the GoFundMe fundraiser reads.
‘Nothing can ease their loss of their beautiful boy, but as a community lets embrace Nicole, boys and the family at this time so they can… have time to focus on each other to let the journey of healing begin.’
His mother Nicole shared a photo of her and her son celebrating his 18th birthday on Facebook, next to the caption ‘my boy, my heart’.
North Whyalla Football Club, the 20-year-old’s former youth team south of Port Augusta, described Mr Hammat as a dedicated teammate who would be sorely missed.
Khye, pictured as a shearer, was voted best team man by his SA youth footy club
‘During his playing time, Khye was voted and received best team man, a true acknowledgment of who he was,’ the team wrote online.
‘Khye will be missed by the club, past coaches and his past team mates.’
The shearing company Mr Hammat worked for last year in south-east SA also paid tribute to ‘young Khye’.
‘We had the privellage of working with young Khye for the 2020 season,’ the company wrote in a Facebook post.
‘To loose such a young man to Meningococcal so quickly is something so heartbreaking that absolutely no family should ever have to go through.’
The 12 cases of meningococcal disease in SA so far this year compare to five at the same time last year and 27 in 2019.
Meningococcal is a serious illness that can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord (file image of the disease’s symptoms)
The symptoms of meningococcal disease vary depending on age.
In young children, symptoms can include fever, red or purple spots, abnormal skin colour, leg pain and cold hands or feet.
In adults, common symptoms are headache, fever, vomiting, neck stiffness and joint pains.
What is Meningococcal?
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness that usually causes meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and/or septicaemia (blood poisoning).
Rare forms of the disease include septic arthritis (joint infection), pneumonia (lung infection) and conjunctivitis (infection of the outer lining of the eye and eyelid).
People with meningococcal disease can become extremely unwell very quickly. Five to ten per cent of patients with meningococcal disease die, even despite rapid treatment.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease are non-specific but may include sudden onset of fever, headache, neck stiffness, joint pain, a rash of red-purple spots or bruises, dislike of bright lights nausea and vomiting.
Between 5 and 25 per cent of people carry meningococcal bacteria at the back of the nose and throat without showing any illness or symptoms.