Meningitis cases in England ‘worrisome’ as they have doubled in a year – signs

The charity Meningitis Now found that the number of cases of IMD in England increased from 80 to 205 within 12 months. Using UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data from July 2021 to June 2022, the charity’s chief executive shared his concern. Dr Tom Nutt said: “These new numbers are very worrying and indicate that we still have some way to go in our battle to defeat this disease.”

He added: “For most of this time, the country was still in lockdown with many of us isolating or practicing social distancing.

“As these restrictions were eased, the number of cases of meningitis, in turn, rose from a historic low in the previous year.

“We expected the number of cases of meningitis to increase after the pandemic, but these new numbers show that there is still a lot to be done.

“We all need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis so that people know to act quickly and seek emergency medical care to save lives.”

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Meningococcal infection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that this condition is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria meningitidis.

The bacterial infection is spread by sharing secretions from the respiratory tract and throat, such as saliva or saliva.

“The two most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis and septicemia,” adds the CDC.

“Both of these types of infections are very serious and can be fatal within hours.”

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The three “most common” symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, and a stiff neck.

There are “often additional symptoms” such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Photophobia (eyes are more sensitive to light)
  • Altered mental status (confusion).

If the bacterium enters the bloodstream, it can multiply and damage the walls of blood vessels, which causes bleeding into the skin and organs.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Vomit
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Severe pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or abdomen
  • rapid breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • In advanced stages, a dark purple rash.

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In response to the Meningitis Now analysis, the UKHSA said it could not confirm or deny these figures as it had not yet released its latest health advocacy report.

Meningitis Now appears to have added data from four published UKHSA quarterly reports to come up with its numbers.

According to reports, the UKHSA registered 28 cases from July to September 2021, 65 from October to December 2021, 57 from January to March 2022 and 55 from April to June 2022.

In addition, the UKHSA stated: “IMD cases in April and June 2022 were 55 per cent lower than the same pre-pandemic period in 2019, when 122 cases were reported.”

Dr Shamez Ladhani, UKHSA consultant epidemiologist, said the increase in meningococcal cases was “expected”.

Dr Ladhani elaborated: “Restrictions imposed during the pandemic and social distancing measures have affected the spread of many infections, including meningococcal disease.

“Surveillance is ongoing and the risk of meningococcal infection remains very low.

“We strongly encourage parents, teens and young adults to ensure they are aware of the symptoms and signs of meningitis and septicemia.”

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