Wednesday, 2nd May 2012
Meningitis Research Foundation – supporting the people of Ireland
A national charity which has been supporting the people of Ireland since 1996 is issuing a reminder to the public to be aware of the dangers and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia and that they are on hand to support anyone affected by these life changing diseases.
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) estimates that there are around 250-300 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in Ireland. Meningitis and septicaemia can be contracted by all age groups however the majority of cases are in children under five years of age. For those who survive, the after effects can include deafness, epilepsy, brain damage, physical and learning disabilities.
Meningitis and septicaemia, (the blood poisoning form of the disease), can progress at an alarming rate and in the early stages can be mistaken for other illnesses. A fever, headache and feeling generally ill may suggest that a child has a virus, such as flu. Sadly, in some cases, when meningitis is finally diagnosed, it can be too late to save lives. With early diagnosis and treatment giving the best chance for a full recovery, knowing the signs that differentiate meningitis from milder illnesses is key.
Currently, Ireland vaccinates children against many forms of meningitis and septicaemia and over the last 10 years have seen a dramatic reduction in the incidence of meningitis and septicaemia and has come a long way in improving prevention, detection and treatment. However, meningococcal group B disease remains the leading cause of life- threatening meningitis and septicaemia in Ireland accounting for over 110 cases each year, and there is no vaccine currently available.
Diane McConnell, Deputy Chief Executive of MRF said: "Recognising the signs and symptoms and acting fast are crucial, as not all forms of the disease are vaccine preventable. Our aim in Ireland is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms associated with these diseases, share knowledge, fund research and to support families affected. "
MRF encourages people to download their freetext SMS video which explains the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia. To do so simply text Time to 50308 and download vital information which could save a life. Alternatively call the freefone helpline 1800 41 33 44 which is available 365 days a year or visit the website: http://www.meningitis.org
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