Sunday 24 April is World Meningitis Day, and individuals and organisations working to combat the disease will be using that day to educate as many people as possible about the need to seek treatment for Meningitis as quickly as possible.
Meningitis is where the tissue around the brain and spine swells due to bacterial or viral infection. That swelling can cause injury to the brain and spine which can leave victims with physical and cognitive disability, and in some cases, result in death.
The most common form of Meningitis in the UK is caused by Meningococcal bacteria, which has different strains, affecting 2,000 people per year in the UK and Ireland. The disease can affect anyone, but the majority of patients tend to be babies and young children. Most victims do recover, but only through their loved ones and doctors acting immediately to provide the necessary treatment.
The theme for this year’s worldwide campaign is “24 hours-time to act”; stressing that patients can become untreatable in under 24 hours and the need to seek medical advice as soon as anyone displays symptoms of Meningitis. Leading charity “Meningitis Research Foundation (“MRF”)”, with whom Clarke Willmott work closely, have a useful symptom checker on their website. This should not replace medical advice from a hospital or GP, but clearly summarises the main symptoms, which can include:
- Fever and/or vomiting;
- Severe headache;
- Stiff neck;
- Sensitivity to bright lights;
- Sleepiness and/or confusion;
Other resources on MRF’s website (http://www.meningitis.org/) can also help answer questions about who is likely to be at risk of the disease, what to look out for in toddlers and, crucially, the support available for people who have already been affected by Meningitis.
Most of the time patients receive fantastic care for Meningitis, but for those few who may experience a delay in diagnosis and treatment, the results can be catastrophic for them and their families. Some failures can be been avoided, and if you are worried that you or a loved one were not treated properly, and have a physical or cognitive injury as a result, speak to one of our specialist lawyers who have a wealth of experience in working with Meningitis survivors. Please call us on 0800 316 8892.