Members visit research project
15 May 2013
Some of our members visited the Oxford Vaccines Group at Churchill Hospital yesterday to find out more about a research project we have funded which is studying childhood meningitis.
A variety of germs cause childhood meningitis, including different bacteria and viruses. Vaccines against some of the main bacteria – meningococcus C, the most common strains of pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) – are now routinely given to children in the UK, so viruses are increasingly predominant. This study
is being performed across 26 major UK hospitals and will determine the current causes of childhood meningitis (i.e. which bugs cause disease), including a detailed evaluation for viruses, which is not routinely done.
Researchers are collecting information on the symptoms, clinical signs and laboratory results of all children with meningitis. They are auditing the treatment these children receive in comparison with the recent NICE guideline, and will determine the effects of meningitis on their health in the short- and medium-term.
One of the main aims is to investigate differences between children with bacterial and viral meningitis in order to help doctors differentiate these two groups at an earlier stage when children are admitted to hospital, so that urgent treatment for bacterial meningitis is not delayed while awaiting diagnosis.
Although the research is being carried out at many UK hospitals, the main research team is based at Oxford, and is being led by Professor Andrew Pollard.
Jenny Daniels from Cowley knows only too well how important it is to get the correct treatment for a child suffering from meningitis & septicaemia, she said: “My daughter Charlotte has had multiple amputations as a result of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia. She was admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital in December 2010, aged two, and ended up staying six weeks. At one point she had multiple organ failure and was on a kidney dialysis. She ended up having both arms amputated below the elbows and her legs amputated below the knees.”
“Charlotte is a wonderful and amazing little girl. She is now five years old and has learnt to live life without limbs the rest of us take for granted. But I really welcomed the opportunity to visit to visit the project and find out more about the disease so I can help raise awareness and try and prevent this happening to more children
Chris Head, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “These days give our members the opportunity to meet the research team and ask questions about meningitis and septicaemia. We rely on voluntary donations to fund our vital work into the prevention, detection and treatment of the diseases and support those affected, so this is a great opportunity for them to see some of the research that they have helped us fund.”