Meningitis Symposium 2010
We were delighted to see the Bank of Ireland auditorium in Bristol full for MRF's latest Meningitis Symposium on July 6.
Growing out of our training days for nurses who answer our helpline out of office hours, the symposium is now freely open to health professionals, academics, MRF members and staff, as well as the original audience of helpline nurses.
The symposium has grown into a mix of presentations by some of the top experts in the field of meningitis and septicaemia, while putting all our work into the context of a MRF Member's experience of how the diseases have affected them and their family
Impact of Meningitis
After an introduction to the day and the work of MRF by CEO, Chris Head, the scene was set by the day's first presentation by MRF's Head of Research and Medical Information, Linda Glennie. Linda presented findings from our Impact of Meningitis project detailing access to urgent hospital care for people with meningitis and septicaemia and follow-up care, and the long-term impact of the illness on health and well-being.
Download Linda's presentation
Living with Meningitis
MRF Member, Sue Burke, then provided a moving account of the illness of her son Cieran and her family's struggle to deal with the consequences of the disease. Cieran contracted meningococcal meningitis when he was just nine months old and has a range of neurological after effects, including deafness. Sue's talk ably illustrated one of the major themes of the day, the provision, or otherwise, of aftercare for the survivors of meningitis and septicaemia. Sue told the audience: "Cieran died for me that day, and I bought a different boy back from hospital."
Read Sue and Cieran's story in our Book of Experience
Neurological effects from meningitis
Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and senior lecturer at the Institute of Child Health, Dr Peta Sharples, then provided an in-depth look at the effects that meningitis has on the brain and a comprehensive overview on the rehabilitation of children who have had the disease.Dr Sharples' presentation emphisised another of the day's themes, the need
for early recognition and treatment not only to save lives but to aid
rehabilitation for survivors.
Early recognition of meningitis
Earlier in the month, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence issued a new guideline on bacterial meningitis and meningococcal disease in children. At the symposium we had two members of the Guideline Development Group. As well as our own Linda Glennie, we were joined by Dr Nelly Ninis, consultant paediatrician at St Mary's Hospital, who was able to explain the implications of this important guideline on the early recognition and treatment of septicaemia.
Download Dr Ninis' presentation
Our day of eminent speakers was rounded off by a talk from Professor Ray Borrow, Head of the Vaccine Evaluation Unit of the Health Protection Agency. Given that prevention is better than cure, Professor Borrow provided an insightful round-up of where we are with vaccination against meningitis and septicaemia. Professor Borrow looked not only at the current vaccine programme in the UK, but also future challenges and vaccination in the developing world, particularly in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt in Africa where disease can affect tens of thousands of people during epidemics years.
Download Professor Borrow's presentation
MRF is grateful to the Bank of Ireland for providing the auditorium free of charge and to Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Ltd, Pfizer and GSK Vaccines for unrestricted educational grants, which allows us to provide the symposium free of charge to delegates.
If you are interested in receiving information about our symposium series and how to attend, let us know