At the Meningitis Trust, we believe that there maybe as many as 500,000 people living in the UKtoday who have had meningitis or septicaemia.Many of these people are still living with theimpact of this dreadful disease.The serious and disabling after-effects are wellrecognised and include deafness, blindness, limbloss, learning difficulties and behaviouralproblems. The impact of the disease may alsocause relationships to break down, people to losetheir jobs and other major lifestyle changes.For every person who has had meningitis, their family and the people around them will beaffected and often their lives too will be changedfor ever.A recent survey suggests that up to 10million people in the UK know someone who hashad meningitis.
Vaccination is the only way to prevent meningitis.Effective vaccines are available to prevent sometypes of bacterial meningitis and these havedramatically reduced the number of cases in theUK. To continue this success, the number of people having the vaccines needs to remainhigh.Meningococcal bacteria that cause diseaseusually belong to particular groups –A, B, C,W-135 and Y.Vaccines that protect against meningococcalgroup C, Hib and pneumococcal bacteria areoffered as part of the routine childhoodimmunisation programme. Around 90% of meningococcal disease in the UKis caused by group B. There is currently novaccine to prevent disease caused by this group.
The germs that cause bacterial meningitis usuallylive harmlessly in the back of the throat. Most of us will carry them at some stage in our liveswithout becoming ill, and they help us build upnatural immunity (protection against the disease).Occasionally, these germs get past the body’sdefences and cause infection.The germs are passed from person to personthrough coughing, sneezing and intimate kissing.But they will rarely cause disease.Meningitis and septicaemia can affect anyone atany age, but babies and young children are mostat risk.
Most cases happen alone, but when there is acase of meningococcal disease, there is a smallchance that further cases can happen.The local public health office may offer antibioticsto people who have been in close contact for along period of time with someone who hasmeningococcal disease. This is to reduce the riskof further cases.
Bacterial meningitis and septicaemia need urgentmedical treatment with antibiotics. If they arerecognised and treated early, they are less likelyto become life-threatening or cause seriousafter-effects.
We, the Meningitis Trust, are a registered charityset up in 1986 by families who had been affectedby meningitis. We are committed to increasingunderstanding of the disease and providingspecialised professional services to anyone whohas been affected. These services offer emotional,practical and financial support to help peoplerebuild their lives.Here are some of the ways we do this.
24-hour nurse-led helpline
– a Freephoneservice, providing information and support sevendays a week
– confidentialcounselling for people who have had meningitisand their families
Financial support grants
– to help fund specialisttraining, equipment, activities, respite care (to givecarers a break from caring) and funeral costs
– trained staff offer information andsupport in people’s homes
– putting people affected bymeningitis in touch with volunteers who have alsoexperienced the diseaseThis is only made possible by donations frompeople like you, as we rely almost entirely onvoluntary support to fund our work.
Registered charity number 803016 (England and Wales) SC037790 (Scotland)©Meningitis Trust 2008 WIM/01/08
The Meningitis Trust
Fern House, Bath RoadStroud, Glos, GL5 3TJ, UKPhone: 01453 768000Fax: 01453 768001
24-hour nurse-led helpline
Did you know?
A recent Meningitis Trust surveyshows that up to 10 million peoplein the UK know someone who hashad meningitis.