Public Reminded to Be Aware of Meningitis
05 January 2009
As members of the public return to school and work following the Christmas holidays, they are being reminded to stay vigilant for the signs and symptoms of meningitis. The Meningitis: It Can Happen to Anyone Campaign begins its latest phase this week, with a series of radio adverts featuring real-life stories, posters and handy 'symptoms cards' which can be picked up in pharmacies and GP surgeries across Scotland.
The campaign aims to raise awareness about meningitis and highlights that meningitis does not just affect children, but instead can affect anyone of any age, race or gender. It encourages the public to make themselves aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis before illness occurs.
Hyacinth Brown of Edinburgh lost her life last year to meningitis at the age of just 54. Her loss has left her family devastated, but they are determined to raise awareness about the illness to help prevent something similar happening again.
Her daughter Petal, who features in one of the radio adverts, said:
"It is important that people realize that meningitis can happen to anyone, regardless of their age. My mum was the picture of health before she died, never drinking or smoking and always trying to stay healthy. Her death took us completely by surprise. My dad, brother and I are committed to raising awareness about this disease and it is vital that people know how to quickly identify the symptoms."
Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "Meningitis is a rare but very serious illness, the consequences of which can include permanent disability or death. "Meningitis can also develop very quickly, and this is why it is so important to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms quickly, and to know where to go to for help."
Kat Hasler, Screening and Immunisation Coordinator at NHS Health Scotland said: "This year's campaign focuses on the people who have been affected by meningitis and tells their stories. Families from every walk of life have been affected by this disease. Sadly, many people think they have the flu and for some, by the time they realise that it is more serious, it is too late.
"The distribution of symptoms cards in community pharmacies and GP surgeries across the country will help give members of the public a credit card sized quick guide for their wallets of the key signs. Registered childminders across Scotland will also receive symptoms cards in copies of Childminding Magazine."
The campaign has been developed in partnership between NHS Health Scotland, Health Protection Scotland, the Scottish Government, NHS community pharmacies and NHS 24 along with three leading charities, Meningitis Association Scotland, Meningitis Research Foundation and the Meningitis Trust.
Justine Hampton, NHS Health Scotland, 07973912198
Jane Hoeflich, NHS Health Scotland, 07717867048