Meningitis UK

I was concerned to read your article on January 31 about a 14-year-old pupil from Clevedon Community School who has been struck down with suspected meningococcal meningitis. We wish him a good recovery. Here at Bristol-based charity Meningitis UK we sadly

I was concerned to read your article on January 31 about a 14-year-old pupil from Clevedon Community School who has been struck down with suspected meningococcal meningitis. We wish him a good recovery.Here at Bristol-based charity Meningitis UK we sadly know only too well how devastating the disease can be and how quickly it can take hold. Our charity has a single focus - to find a vaccine to eradicate meningitis. In the absence of a vaccine, we also distribute a wide range of material to raise awareness of the common symptoms and the need to act quickly.To help prevent deaths from meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia this winter, we are offering families a free lifesaving fridge magnet.The unique 'Check the Symptoms' magnet highlights the common symptoms of the diseases, explains how to carry out the 'Tumbler Test', emphasises the need to act quickly with the warning 'Meningitis can kill in under four hours' and urges families to follow their instincts and seek medical help immediately if they suspect something is wrong. At this time of the year the number of cases of bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia dramatically rise, peaking in February. Based on figures from previous years, about 250 people in England and Wales are likely to be diagnosed with the disease in the first four weeks of January alone.Last year we launched our Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign, which signals the start of a major phase in the search for a vaccine for meningococcal group B. Our scientists believe that, with enough support, this can be achieved within the next seven to 10 years, possibly even sooner. The aim of the campaign is to raise £7million over the next seven years to fund the research needed to reach that goal.Great advances have been made in the fight against the disease over the last 20 years and we are now closer than we have ever been before to achieving our vision and putting a stop to the devastation that meningitis causes.If any readers would like an information pack, including the Check the Symptoms fridge magnet, or to support our Search for a Vaccine, please call Meningitis UK on 0117 373 7373 or visit www.meningitisUK.org Nicola Clarke - Meningitis UK, Bristol


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