Awareness | 

Meningitis: Symptoms to look out for after two young people die in Limerick and Dublin

The HSE warned that meningitis is a “very serious illness” infecting the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can be either bacterial or viral.

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Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The HSE has urged the public to be aware of symptoms of meningitis after a young woman in Co Limerick and a Dublin teenager recently died from the disease.

In a statement released on Monday, the HSE said that the Department of Public Health Mid-West is investigating a “single case of confirmed meningococcal disease in Limerick” and added that close contacts have been contacted and offered treatment.

The department said that “Person-to-person spread of meningococcal disease is very unusual, especially with others who are not a household or physically close personal contact.”

"While the risk to the wider community is considered low, we do want the general public to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease."

The HSE warned that meningitis is a “very serious illness” infecting the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can be either bacterial or viral.

Viral meningitis is usually the milder of the two, with most people making a full recovery from viral meningitis after 5 to 14 days.

However, bacterial meningitis is more severe and can be life-threatening.

It can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning caused by bacteria) and requires more urgent medical attention.

Bacterial meningitis is spread by prolonged close contact between people and can be transferred via saliva.

Symptoms of meningitis include a high temperature of 38C or higher or cold hands and feet and shivers; bad headaches or stiff neck; sensitivity to bright lights; stomach, joint, or muscle pain; vomiting; being confused, tired, or irritable; pale or bluish skin; unusual breathing; seizures; and a rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass against it.

The HSE is advising anyone who has concerns to contact their GP immediately. Fast treatment can save lives and prevent long-term disability or death.


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