Public health teams
Resources for public health: CCDCs, CPHMs, AMOs and infection control teams
Meningitis causes widespread alarm in communities even though the disease is relatively uncommon, and the chance of a second case occurring in the same surroundings is small.
Repeated Department of Health surveys have rated meningitis top among illnesses feared most by parents and the incidence of meningococcal disease in Ireland is the second highest in Europe.
When cases and outbreaks occur, Meningitis Research Foundation works closely with public health teams, including CCDCs, CPHMs, and AMOs, and with schools and employers, to ensure that people have full and accurate information without causing unnecessary fears. This joint-working mainly happens through our 24 hour helpline, and using the leaflet Am I at Risk?
Meningococcal Meningitis and Septicaemia - Am I at Risk?
This leaflet is for people who are worried about meningitis and septicaemia due to a case in their family or community, and for those concerned about someone who is ill. It:
aims to allay unfounded fears about meningococcal disease by helping people understand the level of risk, and answering frequently asked questions about the diseases;
clearly illustrates the different symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, the rashes of meningococcal disease and the tumbler test.
Am I at Risk was developed through consultation with CCDCs and CPHMs as well as paediatricians and representatives of the Department of Health, The Royal College of General Practitioners, The British Medical Association and the Office for Health Gain.
Many public health doctors routinely include this leaflet with letters that are sent home to parents when dealing with a case in a school or nursery. For many parents, the messages about levels of risk and the reassurance of having symptoms information close to hand help to allay their fears.
The helpline is operated by trained staff and qualified nurses who speak to callers 365 days a year to provide information for people concerned about meningitis and septicaemia.
From a practical point of view, offering parents access to this service can take a large burden of basic level calls away from the communicable disease control team, allowing staff more time to deal with the in-depth aspects of public health management of cases of meningitis and septicaemia.
Through the helpline, the Charity also offers support and befriending for families of patients who are currently ill or recovering from these diseases, dealing with after effects, or bereaved.
Our booklet Meningitis and Septicaemia - What Happens Next explains how after effects arise, what can be done about them, and how patterns of recovery may differ. Home visits or access to a trained befriender with a similar experience of the disease to their own can also be arranged.
You can download pdfs of Am I at Risk? and Meningitis and Septicaemia - What Happens Next, if you prefer a printed version they are available free of charge from your local Foundation office or by using our online ordering facility for these and other Foundation resources.