A charity has issued a warning to students to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis after a female student at University College Cork succumbed to the deadly disease.
An inflammation of the meninges in the brain, caused by viral or bacterial infection, meningitis symptoms include intense headache and fever, sensitivity to light, and muscular rigidity.
Bacterial Meningitis is uncommon but can be very serious and requires urgent medical attention and treatment with antibiotics.
Viral Meningitis is less serious and cannot be helped by antibiotic treatment. The symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis are similar so it is imperative that anyone who suspects they may be suffering from it contacts a hospital immediately.
“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to her family and friends; our thoughts are with them at this extremely difficult time,” said a spokesperson for the Meningitis Research Foundation.
“Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It shares many of the symptoms of other, more common, everyday illnesses such as the flu or even a hangover.
“As a result it is vital that people are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of the disease, particularly the symptoms that are more unique to meningitis.
“We want to make the public aware of the symptoms of meningitis so if anyone would like any further information or feels that they could benefit from talking to someone please call our Dublin office on: 01 819 6931, our Freefone Helpline on: 1800 41 33 44 or visit our web site www.meningitis.org.”
In most cases someone with meningitis or septicaemia will become seriously ill very quickly. The signs and symptoms are listed here. Not all these signs and symptoms may show at once.
The HSE has the following advice:
The tumbler test: If a glass tumbler is pressed firmly against a septicaemic rash, the marks will not fade. You will be able to see the marks through the glass. If this happens get medical help immediately.
Pin prick marks: Watch out for tiny red or brown pin prick marks, which can change into larger red or purple blotches or blood blisters.
The rash can be harder to see on dark skin, so check for spots especially on paler areas like palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the stomach, inside the eyelids and on the roof of the mouth.