Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) will use the data to continue to advocate for prevention by vaccination as one of the key ways to defeat meningitis, due to the window for treatment being so short. The charity has called for new vaccines, better access, and greater coverage, alongside knowledge of the signs and symptoms to ensure people get quicker diagnosis and treatment.
Vinny Smith, CEO of MRF said: ““Parents know how dangerous and concerning meningitis is and consistently rate it as a more serious illness than other preventable diseases. Meningitis is feared, and with good reason as this new study confirms time is of the essence when treating meningitis. With NHS emergency units under pressure, it’s vital that health professionals spot the signs of meningitis and septicaemia quickly. Sadly, we know of many families who have lost loved ones within hours.”
“Improved vaccine coverage is needed to ensure that more people are protected when they are at risk.”
“It’s so important for everyone to trust their instincts: if you, or someone you know is ill and getting rapidly worse, seek urgent medical help, even if they have already been seen by a doctor that day.”
Early symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.
MRF encourages everyone to take up the offer of vaccines that are available to them to protect themselves and their families. However, there are not yet vaccines available to prevent all causes of meningitis and septicaemia so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms.
Young people up to the age of 25 are strongly encouraged to check if they have had or are eligible for the MenACWY vaccination. This protects against four types of meningitis. Anyone can check whether they are eligible for the MenACWY vaccine using our eligibility checker.
Immunisation against meningococcal B (MenB) (the most common strain in the UK) is currently only offered to babies.
MRF’s free helpline and support service is here to support anyone affected by meningitis. Anyone concerned about symptoms can find out more at meningitis.org or call 0808 8003344.