The Meningitis Trust is urging parents to vaccinate their children against meningitis, following news from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC ), which is part of the HSE, that the latest immunisation uptake data for children at 24 months of age indicates a decline in the uptake of the MenC vaccine, Hib vaccine and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
“It is of the utmost importance that parents make sure their children are fully vaccinated according to the childhood schedulem,” said Carole Nealon, general manager of the Meningitis Trust. “Meningitis can kill within four hours, and these vaccines can prevent tragedies across Ireland.
“There are not vaccines for all strains of meningitis, and we urge everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms and to trust your instincts,” she added. “Meningitis and septicaemia can be difficult to spot. Early symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, and muscle pain can easily be mistaken for common illnesses like flu, so be aware of all signs and symptoms – they can appear in any order and some may not appear at all.”
Do not wait for a rash; it can appear late or not at all. If you suspect meningitis, get medical help immediately.
For more information on meningitis visit www.meningitis-trust.ie or call its 24-hour helpline which is staffed by nurses on 1800 523196.