MRF contacts health officials in Ireland about deadly MenW

12 Feb 2019
MRF contacts health officials in Ireland about deadly MenW

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is speaking with health experts and officials in Ireland following cases of a particularly deadly type of meningitis and septicaemia (MenW).

The strain of MenW circulating in Ireland is the same strain that has been spreading in much of Europe. It is particularly deadly and can be very hard to recognise at first because patients can have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, often without the characteristic non-blanching rash.

The number of people in Ireland contracting MenW has risen in recent years, with 12 cases reported in 2018, more than triple the number of cases in 2014.

Some countries, including the UK and Netherlands, have introduced the MenACWY vaccine into their routine vaccination schedules to prevent a rise in cases of MenW despite the number of cases being relatively low, because this strain of MenW is very deadly.

"We believe that health officials need to seriously consider introduction of the MenACWY vaccine in Ireland to protect people.” Diane McConnell, MRF

Diane McConnell, Regional Director at MRF said, “We have written to experts and authorities in Ireland and we have been told the Department of Health is aware of our concerns about cases of MenW. We are now writing to the Department of Health for a response.

“It is a tragedy for someone to die suddenly from a disease that is vaccine preventable. Rapid diagnosis and treatment of meningitis provide the best chance of survival but MenW has different symptoms to other kinds of meningitis and septicaemia making it harder to recognise. That’s why prevention through vaccination is the best option to tackle this disease.

“We believe that health officials need to seriously consider introduction of the MenACWY vaccine in Ireland to protect people.”

Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
A major cause of meningitis
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Sam Williams - Media Relations Manager
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