Sinéad McMurray, Support Officer at MRF in Belfast said, “Our thoughts are with the children affected and their families and friends. Our free helpline and support service is here for anyone affected or anyone who may have questions following this news. People can call us on 028 9032 1283 or 080 8800 3344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted from person to person by close contact with others such as coughing, sneezing, kissing etc. However, usually we have to be in very close or regular contact with someone for the bacteria to pass between us. Even when this happens, most of us will not become ill because we have natural immunity.
“We encourage everyone to take up the offer of the vaccines that are included in the routine immunisation schedule to protect themselves and their families. However, there are not yet vaccines available to prevent all types of meningitis and septicaemia, so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms.”