HSE urges parents to check their children's vaccination records following meningitis deaths
Diagnosed cases have doubled from previous years.
Parents are urged to check their children's vaccination records following the news that a number of people had died from meningitis in the last few days.
As reported on Wednesday, the HSE has warned the public to "be vigilant regarding meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia."
There have been 11 cases diagnosed in the past two weeks, and three patients have already died from meningococcal infection, and the HSE has said that their deaths were directly attributable to the infection.
The 11 cases diagnosed between the last week of 2018 and the first week of 2019 are more than double the rate for the same period in the previous years (5). Cases of meningococcal infection also increased from 76 to 89 between 2017 and 2018.
Speaking to RTE's Morning Ireland, Dr Suzanne Cotter of the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) said that parents may think that their children are fully vaccinated but that they may have missed the 13th month visit:
"We want to raise awareness, to let the public know that the symptoms should not be disregarded. Parents should research their children’s medical records and make sure they have all their vaccines.
"Meningitis can be very dangerous, it moves quickly and develops rapidly. Time is critically important. If the classic symptoms are there, move quickly."
Early symptoms of meningitis include: a severe headache, fever, nausea (feeling sick), vomiting (being sick), and feeling generally unwell.
There are also sometimes a pin prick rash or a bruise-like rash present, which could herald a very rare version of the infection, and Dr. Cotter stated that the rash can sometimes be fleeting at the beginning of the symptoms and that the symptoms can mimic other illnesses.