Today it was announced that England will become the first country in the world to protect babies against Meningitis B.
There is also going to be a vaccine against Meningitis W, which commonly affects teenagers and students. The new vaccine will offer protection against MenACWY replacing the current MenC only vaccine.
This is truly fantastic news for any parent.
Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain. It can be viral or bacterial. There are many different strains of the bacteria.
It commonly affects babies, young children, teenagers and students.
Symptoms initially appear little different to flu, but the disease can progress rapidly and can prove fatal in around 10% of cases.
Look out for fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting or being off food, and drowsiness.
In children and adults they may have headache, muscle pains , neck stiffness and a dislike of bright lights. They may also appear confused.
Babies and toddlers may be floppy, dislike being handled, and have rapid breathing,
There may be a rash which does not fade under pressure , but DO NOT wait for the development of a rash before seeking medical help.
The new vaccination programmes will start from August for 17-18 year olds (and will particularly protect students who are known to be at increased risk ), and from September for babies.
There are still strains for which no vaccine exists and parents must remain vigilant.
More information can be found on the Meningitis Now web site.
This charity along with others , and parents , have been campaigning for the last 2 years to bring this development about. I congratulate them on today’s news.
My thoughts today are with parents for whom these vaccines come too late.