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Parents urged "be meningitis aware" 12.09.12

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 immune systems.
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, click here .
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