Parents urged to stay alert to signs of meningitis after cases in North East Lincolnshire
PARENTS have been urged to keep up-to-date with their children's vaccinations after two cases of meningitis in North East Lincolnshire.
As reported, eight-month-old Lexus-Rose, of Winchester Avenue, Nunsthorpe, sadly died at Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital last Friday after contracting suspected meningococcal septicemia.
Dr Autilia Newton, unit director and consultant in communicable disease control at North Yorkshire and the Humber Health Protection Unit, has also confirmed that a second child is being treated for suspected meningitis at the hospital.
However, she was keen to point out that she did not believe the cases to be linked and that she was not aware of any further cases linked to Lexus-Rose's death.
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She said: "While I understand these situations can cause concern, it's important to stress that when there are cases of meningitis it is very uncommon to see other linked cases. The infection does not pass easily from person to person.
"More cases of meningitis are seen during the winter months and so it's crucial that we all stay alert to the signs and symptoms of the disease and take immediate action if infection is suspected.
"The disease progresses rapidly and so it is important to seek urgent medical help if there is any concern at all."
Symptoms can include:
A high temperature
A dislike of bright lights
A stiff neck, aching limbs and joints
A rash which does not fade when pressed
In small babies, a refusal to feed and a high-pitched cry
Isobel Duckworth, a public health consultant at North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus, added that vaccination programmes had led to a drop in the number of children contracting the disease.
She said: "Nationally, the number of meningitis cases has fallen dramatically since vaccines have been introduced against some forms of meningitis and offered routinely to children as part of the Childhood Immunisation Programme, or to those groups at most risk of pneumococcal meningitis.
"Parents who suspect their children may not be up-to-date with all their childhood immunisations can check with their GP. However, there are strains of meningitis for which we don't yet have a vaccine, so remaining alert to the signs and symptoms is crucial."
Find out more
Further advice and information about meningitis and vaccinations is available by contacting NHS Direct, the 24-hour NHS Helpline on 0845 4647 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk, the National Meningitis Trust helpline on 0800 028 18 28 or www.meningitis-trust.org or the Meningitis Research Foundation on 080 8800 3344.
Our 8-page health special next Wednesday is all about keeping healthy this winter.