A 17-year-old student was yesterday confirmed to be suffering from the same meningococcal infection that has broken out in the Philippines. The girl, who studies at the German Swiss International School on The Peak and lives in the southern district, has not travelled recently and her case has been classified as local. Last year, four cases were reported in Hong Kong, compared with three in 2003 and six in 2002. The girl showed symptoms of fever, malaise and a rash on Saturday and was admitted to the Adventist Hospital the following day, a spokesman for the Health Department's Centre for Health Protection said. She was in a stable condition last night. The spokesman said the girl's family had been placed under medical surveillance and been given antibiotics as a preventative measure. The case came as the World Health Organisation yesterday sent a team to further investigate the outbreak of meningococcemia in the Philippine mountain resort of Baguio City. A total of 33 cases have been reported in the Philippines, with 19 confirmed deaths. The Centre for Health Protection said it was essential that Hong Kong people were aware of the disease and took precautions against it. 'Meningococcal infection is caused by a bacterium known as meningococcus. It is transmitted by direct contact, including droplets from the nose and throat of infected people,' the spokesman said. The incubation period varies from two to 10 days, but is usually three to four. Severe illness may result when the bacteria invades the bloodstream, causing meningococcaemia, or when it invades the brain, causing meningitis. The principal of the German Swiss school, Jens-Peter Green, said the school was told about the student's illness on Tuesday afternoon, and measures to prevent its spread were put in place. The girl attended class last week before she fell ill on the weekend, he said, but health authorities told the school there was no immediate danger of the disease spreading. An e-mail was sent to parents of the 1,100 students advising them about the risk of infection, to observe good hygiene, and that if their children showed symptoms, they should consult a doctor or go to the emergency unit of a hospital. The school's 100 or more teachers and staff were similarly advised, and some were also put under surveillance, Dr Green said.