An estimated 20 million years of healthy life were lost to death or disability from meningitis in 2017. Almost 300,000 deaths are recorded every year. Immunisation can help to reduce the burden of this infectious disease.
World Meningitis Day (24 April) is a reminder that the disease can strike anyone at any time and can kill in hours. The lives of survivors can be changed forever by organ damage, hearing loss, brain injury and limb loss.
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) says prevention and early recognition of symptoms are key to tackling this devastating illness:
‘People who lose a loved one have their lives changed forever. Vaccines are our best tool for prevention. There are different vaccines to protect against different types of meningitis. Speak to your local healthcare provider today to learn what’s available for you.’
Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect against the most common types of meningitis. More vaccines are coming, but not all meningitis is vaccine preventable, so it is important to learn the signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of meningitis include: fever, headache, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, rash, seizures, muscle and neck pain, dislike of bright lights. Not all patients develop all symptoms, and the early signs can be hard to detect. The disease develops fast so if you suspect meningitis, seek urgent medical attention.