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Be aware of the signs of meningitis

22 November 2004

Meningitis Trust caution to be aware of the signs of meningitis

Parents are warned to remain vigilant as a toddler is hospitalized suffering from meningococcal disease.

The signs and symptoms of meningitis are the same what ever the group – A, B, C, W, and Y. Fiona Colbert, Meningitis Trust, General Manager said “ If somebody is not well and you suspect meningitis or meningococcal disease see a doctor immediately as early treatment with antibiotics is vital – it can be the difference between life and death “.

Even though it appears that this toddler has had all three of the MeNZB™ vaccinations, which only protects against the epidemic B strain, the risk of getting meningitis and meningococcal disease is still apparent. Meningitis may not be easy to spot at first as the symptoms are similar to the flu; the speed of the disease distinguishes itself on occasion happening in a matter of hours.


Signs and symptoms

In children and adults: headache, vomiting / diarrhoea, stiff neck, aversion to light, joint pains, drowsiness, fever with cold hands and feet and convulsions.

In babies: fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting / diarrhoea ,refusing feeds, high pitched moaning cry or whimpering, fretful, unhappy being handled, blank staring expression, bulging soft spot on head ( fontanelle),difficult to wake, pale blotchy complexion, neck retraction with arching of back. Rash

Be alert; check your child for a rash all over.

Do not wait for a rash; it may be the last symptom to appear. The rash may appear anywhere on the body – a cluster of tiny blood spots like pin pricks in the skin.

If untreated these spots will spread and join to give the appearance of fresh bruising.

This rash does not fade under pressure.

In dark skin look for the rash on the soles of feet, palms of hands and surface of the eye.

Meningitis Trust, a charity leading the fight against meningitis by:

Providing a 24 hour helpline 0800 446 087 – staffed by trained nurses who are telephone counsellors ( this is not a diagnostic line)

Support for those recovering from meningitis or meningococcal disease.

One to one contact to share thoughts with those who have had a similar experiences

Financial Support Grants –designed to assist those rebuilding their lives following this devastating disease.


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