Meningitis Awareness Week: Jamini's Story

14 Sep 2020
Meningitis Awareness Week: Jamini's Story
Jamini Wright is urging people to know the symptoms of meningitis after contracting the diseases in early 2020. The warning comes during Meningitis Awareness Week as Meningitis Research Foundation expects cases of meningitis to increase in the next few months. Every year we see more cases as we move into autumn and winter, and post lockdown, as social distancing eases, it will become easier for the bacteria to spread.

Jamini, 41 from Burgess Hill, began to experience joint pain and repetitive vomiting in January 2020. She was told by her doctor that was most likely to be “just a virus”. Over the weekend Jamini’s conditioned worsened and she struggled to move her legs. At a further visit to the doctor she was told again it was probably a virus, but blood was taken for testing. Later that same evening, Jamini received a phone call telling her an ambulance was on its way.

‘My CRP levels [a sign of inflammation] were the highest the doctor had ever seen,’ said Jamini. ‘That was when I knew it was something serious.’

Jamini was given antibiotics as soon as she arrived at Princess Royal Hospital and tests were carried out. She was then transferred to the specialist Infectious Disease Unit in Brighton. There, Jamini spent 4 weeks in hospital having contracted potentially fatal meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia (also known as sepsis).

She said: ‘When they said I had meningitis I was terrified, but by that point I was beginning to recover - so there was some relief in knowing what it was at last.’
Meningitis is spread through close contact and new figures from Public Health England Meningococcal Reference Unit show that cases of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia dropped significantly in England and Wales during lockdown – currently at less than a third of cases compared to the same months in previous years. However, as restrictions ease, cases are expected to rise.

This Meningitis Awareness Week, Jamini is supporting Meningitis Research Foundation to warn people not to be complacent. Cases are expected to rise as people socialise again, and as we move into the winter season which is when we see the peak in yearly cases.

 

Jamini and her husband, Garry.
 

Fortunately Jamini survived, but lockdown created additional difficulties. ‘All of my follow up and physio appointments were put on hold,’ she said: ‘I had to teach myself to walk again, to use my wrists again, to try and get back to normal.’

Jamini continues to suffer after effects of meningitis, including limb pain, severe fatigue and headaches. ‘I don’t talk about it because I don’t want people to think differently of me, but I am different,’ she said. ‘Nobody talks about meningitis, but it can happen to anyone. It could’ve happened to someone sat right next to you, and you’d never know because not all after effects can be seen straight away.’

‘The invisible after effects of meningitis and septicaemia are life changing,’ said Rob Dawson, Director of Communications, Advocacy and Support at Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). ‘Jamini has been through a life changing ordeal, but you would never know that unless she told you. We’re working to defeat meningitis wherever it exists to help people like Jamini.’

'Her story is a reminder that even in the midst of a COVID pandemic, urgent action against meningitis saves lives, so it’s vital people know the signs and symptoms and how to act if someone is ill. While the country is rightly staying alert for COVID, they must also remember to think about meningitis too.'

Jamini is now joining Meningitis Research Foundation to remind people that meningitis has not gone away, despite Covid-19 dominating the news.

She said: ‘If telling my story can help just one person, even just one, then it will have been worth it.’

Click here to find out how you can support Meningitis Awareness Week.
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
Give researchers the clues to help defeat meningitis
£160/€190/$214 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria. This information helps us to track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines.
Media contact
Rob Dawson - Director of Advocacy, Communications and Support
Tel: 0333 405 6262
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