29 Aug 2008
The Meningitis Trust has issued a warning about the dangers of meningitis as students return to university and college this autumn.
The charity is urging all parents and students who are embarking on the new educational year to be vigilant of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). Meningitis is an infectious disease that can kill within hours and leave sufferers with severe after-effects including brain damage, deafness, and in cases of septicaemia, even loss of limbs.
The Meningitis Trust produces a life-saving card designed to fit inside your wallet, it displays the signs and symptoms of meningitis. It’s available free of charge – to receive one, people can call the Meningitis Trust’s 24-hour nurse led help line on 1800 523 196.
While children under five are most at risk from meningitis, teenagers and students are the second most at risk group (15 – 23 years). It is estimated that 10% of the population carry the organism which causes meningitis at any one time. This increases to 30% for students who carry the bacteria in the back of their throats. Transmission is via droplets from person to person when coughing, sneezing or through close personal contact such as kissing.
Carole Nealon, General Manager of the Meningitis Trust said, “Shared accommodation arrangements, sitting in close confines and prolonged exposure to bacteria can all unfortunately lead to increased risk of infection. During the winter months we see more cases of meningitis and septicaemia. Worryingly, the symptoms can easily appear like other conditions such as flu so we are asking people to learn the signs and symptoms of meningitis, and to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect the disease.”
For further information please contact:
Carole Nealon, Telephone: 01 276 2050 / 086 824 9720