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HSE Warning Parents To Be Vigilant After Three People Die From Meningitis

HSE Warning Parents To Be Vigilant After Three People Die From Meningitis

HSE Warning Parents To Be Vigilant After Three People Die From Meningitis
The HSE has issued a warning after three people die from meningitis in the past two weeks. 
 
The warning comes as the number of cases of the disease has increased from last year.
 
According to the HSE, "the eleven cases notified in week 52 2018 and week 1 2019 compares to 5 cases for the same time period last year. In 2018 a total of 89 meningococcal cases were notified compared to 76 in 2017."
 
Dr Suzanne Cotter, Specialist in Public Health Medicine has said the increase is cause for concern and is urging anyone with symptoms to contact their GP immediately. 
 
“Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together and symptoms can appear in any order," Dr Cotter explained.
 
"Some may not appear at all. Early symptoms can include; fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, stomach cramps, fever with cold hands and feet and a rash, but do not wait for the rash to appear. If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately."
The specialist is also urging parents to make sure that their child is up to date regarding their childhood meningococcal vaccinations. 
 
"Parents of children should ensure that they have received all their vaccines on time," the HSE explained in the statement.
 
"A vaccine that protects against meningococcal C disease (MenC vaccine) is given at 6 months and at 13 months and meningococcal B vaccine (MenB vaccine) is given at 2, 4, and 12 months of age. 
 
"In addition, adolescents are routinely offered the MenC vaccine in the first year of secondary school. Older teenagers and young adults up to the age of 23 years who never received a MenC vaccine are recommended to get the vaccine."
 
 
However, it is important to note that all age groups are being affected, from infants to the elderly. 
 
Bacterial meningitis and septicaemia requires urgent treatment; signs and symptoms include:
  • Fever (sometimes with cold hands and feet)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Severe Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Discomfort from bright light
  • Neck stiffness
  • Vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea
  • Non-blanching rash may appear which may be tiny red pin pricks that may develop to purple bruises. This rash does not fade under pressure.