Meningitis Symposium 2012

Despite being slightly later in the year due to the Olympics, this year’s symposium was still really well attended by health professionals from across the UK. It took place at the Bank of Ireland in Bristol on 3 October.

Participants heard from leading health professionals on a range of topics including MenB vaccine progress, current meningitis figures, viral meningitis and how to engage and talk about vaccine policy with members of the public. They also heard from MRF staff about some of current and upcoming work, both in the UK and Africa.

This was all put into context by a talk from one of our most recent members about her experience of meningitis.

Parents’ experience of meningococcal disease

Angela Dorman and her partner Ali gave a presentation about their personal experience of meningitis and the impact it had. You can find more personal stories in our Book of Experience.

Preventing meningitis: new vaccines and upcoming changes to the immunisation programme

Jamie Findlow at MRF Meningitis Symposium 2012Dr Jamie Findlow is Deputy Head of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) Vaccine Evaluation Unit (VEU) located at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom. He joined the VEU as a Clinical Scientist in 2000 and was responsible for the completion of serology from clinical trials of Neisseria meningitidis polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines. He subsequently undertook a PhD titled “Serological correlates for and immunogenicity of candidate serogroup B N. meningitidis vaccines”.

Following his PhD he has been involved in development and evaluation of immunoassays including those for N. meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, diphtheria, tetanus and Streptococcus pneumoniae.


MenB vaccine: pre and post implementation issues

Dr Matthew Snape at MRF Meningitis Symposium 2012Dr Matthew Snape is a consultant in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS trust and an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Oxford.

After completing basic training in paediatrics at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, he spent 18 months working in the paediatric intensive care unit at St Mary's Hospital, London. While caring for children suffering overwhelming infections he developed an interest in the prevention of these illnesses by immunisation. This led him to the Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford, where he has been the principal investigator on paediatric studies of meningococcal, pneumococcal, influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines.


Viral meningitis: a real pain in the neck. A current review of viral meningitis including outstanding unanswered questions

Fiona McGill at MRF Meningitis Symposium 2012Dr Fiona McGill graduated from medical school at the University of Aberdeen in 2000. She moved south of the border one year later to take up a medical rotation in Middlesbrough. After 2 and half years there she pursued her interest in Infectious Diseases and took up a clinical fellow post in Newcastle-Upon Tyne.

Since April 2011 she has taken some time out of clinical duties to work as a Clinical Research Fellow in the Liverpool Brain Infections Group with Prof Tom Solomon and his team working on an epidemiological study on viral meningitis in the UK and funded by Meningitis Research Foundation.


MRF’s current and upcoming work

Linda Glennie at MRF Meningitis SymposiumLinda Glennie is Head of Research and Medical Information at Meningitis Research Foundation where she has worked for fifteen years.

Linda works with scientists and health professionals across a range of disciplines to develop information materials for the public and for health professionals, and has co-authored several educational resources for nurses and trainee doctors. She organises the scientific programme for the Foundation’s biennial international conferences.

Linda is responsible for managing the administration, peer review and monitoring of the Foundation’s international research programme. In collaboration with the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol she manages the Impact of Meningitis project. She was a member of the Guideline Development Group for the NICE Guideline on Bacterial Meningitis and Meningococcal Septicaemia, published June 2010. Linda has a background in biological sciences.

Action Meningitis: MRF’s healthcare and awareness initiative in Malawi

Sara Marshall at MRF Meningitis Symposium 2012

Sara Marshall is overseeing the new MRF project in Malawi – “Action Meningitis”, which is committed to reducing the number of child deaths and after effects caused by meningitis illness.

This involves working with the project manager based in Blantyre to plan and implement the different parts of the project; a radio campaign to raise awareness of meningitis disease, the introduction of triage protocols using mobile technology in primary clinics to identify severely ill children, and distribution of ambulance bicycles to rural communities needing extra transport.

Sara has previously worked on community projects in southern Africa, and is excited to be part of this new project that will have great impact on healthcare access and service for children in Malawi.

Informing the public about immunisation

Jo Yarwood at MRF Meningitis Symposium 2012Jo Yarwood trained as a nurse and midwife. She has a post-graduate diploma in health science studies and an MSc in care, policy and management. From 1995 she managed the national immunisation information programme for England.

In her current post she leads the planning and implementation for the national immunisation programme and is responsible for stakeholder engagement and delivery of the national communications strategy. She provides a leadership role on professional development, and public and health professional communication.

Jo has published several papers on communication issues in immunisation and regularly presents at national and international meetings and conferences.

MRF is grateful to the Bank of Ireland for providing the auditorium free of charge and to Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Ltd and Pfizer for unrestricted educational grants. Thanks to their generosity we were able to offer this seminar to delegates for free.

John Crawford
Viral meningitis
Viral meningitis at 53

If we can learn from each other then maybe we will get there that little bit earlier.

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