A cluster of meningitis cases in Wellington has prompted health authorities to warn parents of young children to be on the lookout for the serious disease.
A Wellington Medical Officer of Health, Annette Nesdale, says seven cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in the past three weeks when the region normally sees only one case a month.
Dr Nesdale says the initial symptoms are similar to influenza but children will quickly deteriorate, becoming hard to wake up and showing a rash that looks like small bruises under the skin.
She says the seven cases are unconnected and appear to be a result of the various flu strains and recent cold weather.
No other region is reporting any similar outbreak.