The Department of Public Health Mid-West is warning the public to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis. The warning comes following the death of a young adult from meningococcal disease. The office says it was notified of the case in late September and that the person concerned subsequently died.
Close contacts identified by Public Health Mid-West have been contacted and offered treatment in accordance with national guidance. The office says person-to-person spread of meningococcal disease is very unusual, especially with others who are not a household or physically close personal contact.
Meningitis involves inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
It can be caused by a variety of different germs, mainly bacteria and viruses. Bacterial meningitis is less common but usually more serious than viral meningitis and requires urgent treatment with antibiotics. Bacterial meningitis may be accompanied by septicaemia (blood poisoning). The bacteria live naturally in the nose and throat of normal healthy persons without causing illness. The spread of the bacteria is caused by droplets from the nose and mouth. The illness occurs most frequently in young children and adolescents, usually as isolated cases.
Bacterial meningitis or septicaemia requires urgent antibiotic treatment.
While the risk to the wider community is considered low Public Health Mid-West wishes to highlight the signs and symptoms of this disease.
Signs and symptoms may include:
· Severe Headaches
· Discomfort from bright light
· Neck stiffness
Public Health Mid-West advises that anyone with concerns should contact their GP immediately and ensure that medical expertise is sought.