Meningitis Symposium 2013


At the annual Meningitis Symposium, participants heard from leading health professionals on a range of topics including MenB (meningocococcal group B), vaccination and the effects of meningitis and septicaemia on both individuals and families



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A parent's experience of MenB

Karen Crockatt works independently as a Healthcare Consultant. She trained as a nurse many years ago specialising in Theatre and has held various operational management roles within the NHS and private healthcare sectors, including Directorate Management, commissioning roles and Head of Procurement. She is an MRF trained befriender and recently appointed Ambassador for the North West. She is also a Trustee for www.littlelegs.org.uk, the charity for children with congenital limb deficiencies or amputations of part of their legs or feet.

Her husband Nick is a Commercial Partnership Manager with a large medical devices company and is also an MRF Ambassador. They have 2 children, Domenico aged 24, who has just graduated from university, and Sofia aged 8. In February 2007, at the age of 2, Sofia contracted meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia and as a result lost her left leg below the knee and sustained severe damage to her right leg. She is now the first ever MRF Junior Ambassador and is currently in training for the mini Great North Run in September.

A new collaboration: a parents' guide to recovering from childhood bacterial meningitis and septicaemia

Claire Wright’s responsibilities at MRF include maintaining and developing a range of information resources for the public and health professionals. These include paper and electronic publications for health professionals and the public, presentation materials, fact sheets, statistics, articles for medical/nursing media, and web based information. She also liaises with health professionals on behalf of MRF members who wish to ask specific health related questions.

Claire has a biology background and has undertaken a project which counted the lifelong costs of a severe case of meningitis and septicaemia. Recently she has been working on an information resource for families about childhood recovery from bacterial meningitis and septicaemia. Produced by both MRF and the Meningitis Trust, this resource provides essential information about recovery, potential after effects, follow-up care that should be received, and the support that is available to childhood survivors of these diseases.

Family impact of meningitis and septicaemia

Dr Hareth Al-Janabi works at the University of Birmingham, conducting research on economic issues in healthcare. His research focuses on the costs and benefits of healthcare treatments. He is particularly interested in the impacts of healthcare treatments on families. Before working in academia, Hareth was an economist and policy adviser at the Treasury and the Department of Health.

Ensuring the safety and quality of a new meningococcal B vaccine

Professor Ian Feavers PhD, is Head of the Division of Bacteriology at the NIBSC, which is part of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). He studied for his PhD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, eventually moving to NIBSC after periods of postdoctoral research at the University of Sheffield and the Friedrich Miescher Institut in Basel. During the late 1990s, when new conjugate vaccines were being introduced, he headed the laboratory responsible for the control and standardisation of meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. Ian continues to oversee an active research programme on the molecular genetics and immunology of meningococcal and pneumococcal antigens. Because of his broad experience of bacterial vaccines and molecular biology, he has been closely involved with a number of meningococcal vaccine developments. He regularly contributes to WHO and EU guidelines, serves as one of NIBSC’s representatives on the Vaccine Working Party of the EMA, and is a member of the JCVI subgroup on meningococcal vaccines. Ian teaches on a number of vaccine related courses in the University of London and is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College.

Issues in evaluating the impact of a new meningococcal B vaccine

Professor Ray Borrow is Head of the Vaccine Evaluation Unit at Public Health England (formerly Health Protection Agency), Manchester, UK, where he is responsible for the evaluation of serological responses to various bacterial and viral vaccines with a special interest in meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. He gained his PhD in 1994, his MRCPath in 2003 and he became a Professor of Vaccine Preventable Diseases in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester in 2009 and Visiting Professor at the School of Healthcare Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011. His scientific findings resulted in over 240 peer reviewed published papers. Until recently he served as a member of the DoH Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and is an ad hoc advisor to WHO on both meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. He sits on the medical-scientific advisory panel for the Meningitis UK/Trust and Meningitis Research Foundation.

Childhood immunisations: schedule changes and challenges

Sarah Lang works as an immunisation advisor for VACCSline, an immunsiation advice service for health professionals co-run by Thames Valley Public Health England Centre and the Oxford Vaccine Group. Sarah began working in travel medicine in 1999 in travel clinics and occupational health before spending two years in general practice involved in all aspects of immunisation. She completed and MSc in Travel Medicine in 2003 at the University of Glasgow and became a member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow in 2006. Sarah’s current main interest is education of health care professionals and she is studying for an MA in Medical Education.


We appreciate:

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


Karen Crockatt

Claire Wright

Dr Hareth Al-Janabi

Professor Ian Feavers

Professor Ray Borrow

Sarah Lang