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Meningitis Awareness Week

Published: 18/09/2015

Flintshire County Council’s Public Protection Service would like to remind parents and students about the dangers of Meningitis. The message coincides with Meningitis Awareness Week across the UK (14-20 September) and also an increase in cases of Meningitis as we move into autumn and winter. Meningitis is a relatively rare infection that causes a swelling of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial Meningitis can be deadly and contagious among people in close contact. It can kill within 48 hours and early treatment is vital. Anyone can get meningitis, however teenagers as well as babies and young children under five years of age are most at risk. One in four 15 to 19 year olds carry meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats, compared to one in 10 of the general population. Most people who are carriers of the bacteria don’t become ill but can pass it on through coughing, sneezing and kissing, with increased risk where people are close to each other such as in class rooms or halls of residence. The symptoms of meningitis can include fever, cold hands and feet, vomiting, muscle pain, drowsiness, confusion, stiff neck, headache, difficulty with bright lights, stomach pain, diarrhoea and a rash that does not fade under pressure. All or just some of these symptoms may be present. The rash can appear late or not at all. The rash is more difficult to see on darker skin; look on paler areas of the skin and under the eyelids. Flintshire Council is working in collaboration with the NHS to raise awareness of a new free vaccine available to all 17 and 18 year olds and college and university students up to the age of 25. GPs are contacting 17-18 year olds to attend the surgery for the vaccine however students aged 19-25 will need to contact their surgery to request the vaccine. Councillor Kevin Jones, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Waste and Recycling said: “It is important that we all know the symptoms of Meningitis. This dreadful disease causes around 300 deaths a year. Vaccines are available against certain types of bacterial Meningitis for young children and young adults and it’s important that these vaccinations are up to date. Furthermore, if you have youngsters that are leaving home for college or university this September, please make sure that they know the symptoms and to seek medical help if they feel unwell or have any concerns regarding this disease.” For more information go to: