A DONEGAL family is
encouraging the local community to 'Be Meningitis
Wise' and know the symptoms of the lethal disease.
Meningitis and septicaemia are the biggest killers
of children under the age of five in Ireland, with
babies especially vulnerable because of their weak
Hazel, whose child suffered meningococcal meningitis
and septicaemia eight years ago, said she is now
always on the alert to the condition.
"The anxiety never goes away. Whenever she gets sick
– it brings it all back. I’m just so grateful that
she came out of it alright. She gets cold hands and
feet but we can deal with that – when you think of
what might have happened."
The diseases affect around 200 people every year in
Ireland and can strike anyone without warning. Some
one to two deaths still occur every month and a
further 56 people are left with severe after effects
such as brain damage, hearing loss or amputations.
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) Ireland
manager, Diane McConnell said: “There is currently
no vaccine for meningococcal B disease which is
responsible for the majority of cases of disease in
the UK and Ireland.
"We run Meningitis Awareness Week every September to
empower the public with the knowledge to know the
symptoms, trust their instincts and act quickly."
The charity has been campaigning for the prevention
and treatment of meningitis for over 20 years. It
has invested €21m on 137 research studies and spends
around €1.27m a year supporting families affected
and raising awareness.
"We hope that the people of Donegal will Be
Meningitis Wise as it may save a life." added Ms
McConnell. Meningitis Awareness Week runs from
September 17 - 23. For a chart showing symptoms of
meningitis and septicaemia,