PARENTS have been urged to be on the lookout for signs of a deadly disease as cases increase.
The latest figures show 65 confirmed cases of meningococcal meningitis and septicemia.
While these numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels, experts are particularly concerned about cases of MenB.
Of these 65 cases, MenB accounted for a total of 57, accounting for 88 percent.
There were three cases of MenW, one of which occurred in the 20-24 age group.
There were a total of 14 cases in children under the age of 5, and all but one of these were MenB.
There were a total of 29 cases in the 15-19 age group, 26 of which were due to MenB.
MeB is usually caused by a bacterium that lives in the nose and throat. It can spread through close contact such as coughing, kissing, or sneezing.
There are different types of meningococcal bacteria including A, B, C, W, X, Y and Z.
The figures refer to the period between October and December 2021, but compared to 2020 the cases have skyrocketed.
There were just 19 cases last year and charity Meningitis Now is concerned these numbers will continue to rise from historic lows during Covid.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, usually caused by bacteria or viruses.
The bacteria that cause meningitis can also cause blood poisoning.
The early signs and symptoms can be similar to the flu and include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches – which some people may mistake for Covid and even a hangover.
The 9 signs of meningitis you need to know
Symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and include:
- A high fever above 37.5 degrees – the average human temperature
- be sick
- a blotchy rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
- Stiffness, especially in the neck
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Drowsiness, irritability or lack of energy
- cold hands and feet
The classic skin rash of meningitis usually looks like small, red pinpricks at first.
But it spreads over the body, turning into red or purple spots.
If you press the side of a glass firmly against the skin where the rash is and it doesn’t fade, this is a sign of blood poisoning and you should see a doctor right away
A teenager studying in Edinburgh recently told how she thought she had “overdone it” during freshman week – only to find out she had meningitis.
Alice Jenkins woke up with aching limbs and a high temperature – but first blamed it on Covid – as her housemates recently had the bug.
Meningitis Now CEO, Dr. Tom Nutt said the organization’s fears have come true – as cases of invasive meningococcal disease rage as young people start mixing again.
He added that one worrisome aspect of the numbers is the number of MenB cases among teenagers.
“Although most teenagers are vaccinated against MenACWY, it does not protect them from MenB.
“These latest figures bear this out, and while the totals are still well below pre-pandemic levels, the sharp increase in the number of cases is worrying given that almost half of all recorded cases involve children and adolescents.”
Tom said viral people are keeping up with their vaccines and learning the key signs and symptoms of the disease.
“We know that early diagnosis and treatment improve outcomes. And it could help save someone’s life.”
“Every day we hear about new cases and the heartbreak they can cause.
“These latest figures only spur us on to greater efforts as we work toward our vision – where no one dies from this disease and all those affected receive the support they need,” he added.
If you suspect someone has meningitis, you should seek urgent help – in an emergency, always dial 999.
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https://www.the-sun.com/health/5523426/urgent-warning-spike-meningitis-cases-signs-never-ignore/ Urgent warning of a rise in meningitis cases – the 9 signs you must never ignore