Guard against deadly disease

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PARENTS across Hartlepool and east Durham are being urged to guard against a deadly brain bug as their children return to school - even if they have been vaccinated against the disease.

Meningitis UK is stressing the importance of spotting symptoms as there is still no vaccine to guard against the most common and one of the most deadly forms of the illness, meningitis B.

Although successful vaccines exist against some forms of meningitis, including Hib and pneumococcal meningitis and meningitis C, children are still at risk from this disease which can kill in under four hours.

Parents are being urged to watch out for a headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright lights as well as difficulty supporting their own weight, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, confusion and drowsiness.

Meningitis can cause blood poisoning known as septicaemia, which can have the symptoms of aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash.

The disease often leaves survivors with severe after-effects including brain damage, sight and hearing loss, limb loss and scarring.

Steve Dayman, Meningitis UK’s chief executive who lost his own son Spencer to the disease, said: “Many parents wrongly believe their child is fully protected from meningitis, which could prove fatal.”

Meningitis UK is offering the public free symptom information packs, which include a leaflet plus a fridge magnet reminder and a wallet-sized symptoms card.

To order a free pack call 0117 3737373.