MRF Members Paula and Sarah visit viral meningitis research in Liverpool

MRF Members Paula and Sarah visit viral meningitis research in Liverpool Date: 02 July 2012 - 02 July 2012
Location: Liverpool

MRF Members Paula and Sarah visit viral meningitis research in Liverpool

Both Paula and Sarah have been affected by viral meningitis and were really keen to see the research MRF is funding to look at the disease. Paula was in hospital for 3 weeks in late 2010 and has since been on medication to try to prevent a recurrent episode. Sarah has had viral meningitis 5 times over the last 25 years, having to be treated in hospital each time. She is also on prophylactic acyclovir medication to try and prevent future attacks.

“I was obviously very interested in gaining as much knowledge as I could about the research into viral meningitis and the treatment with Aciclovir. I was also keen to find out about possible long-term effects that could affect me in later life.”

The research is looking at all aspects of viral meningitis by recruiting all new cases from hospitals across the North West of England: what viruses cause meningitis; what the symptoms are; how people are treated; and what happens after they leave hospital.

Less is known about viral meningitis when compared to bacterial meningitis. Although it is clear from MRF Members such as Paula and Sarah that viral meningitis often leaves sufferers with ongoing problems such as repeated bouts of tiredness, memory loss, and headaches.

Paula also had another reason for visiting the research.

“As I am involved as patient representative on the steering committee for this study, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet everyone from Meningitis Research Foundation as well as other people who are involved.”

Paula is acting as the patient representative to make sure that the patients’ needs are addressed when designing and managing the study, and that all consent documents are easy to understand. It is important that patients understand the importance of the study and why they should give consent to be enrolled.

Paula was therefore already aware of some of the background to the MRF project but really enjoyed the day.

“The best thing about the day was meeting everyone involved, and chatting to other people who have suffered with viral meningitis like myself.”

Sarah agrees, “This was the first time I have met anyone else that has suffered and it was important to me as I have felt in the past that nobody really understands how you feel and cannot confidently answer your questions.“

Dr Fiona McGill, who is co-ordinating the study under the supervision of Professor Tom Solomon, put on a great visit for all MRF Members and staff who attended, with a presentation about the research, tour of the labs, a chance to use the microscopes and chat with the Research nurses involved in the project. Thanks go to the whole of the Liverpool Brain Infections Group for giving us the opportunity to come and see the great work that MRF funds are being used for.

If you’re interested in visiting the MRF research project in your local area, please get in touch with Gill at or by phoning 01454 281811.