Meningitis outbreak in N.I. - What we know so far

This is what we know so far about the sudden outbreak of meningitis in Northern Ireland.

How many cases of meningitis have been confirmed?

If you think your child has meningitis you should seek medical help immediately.

If you think your child has meningitis you should seek medical help immediately.

Two.

What is meningococcal septicaemia?

It is an acute infection of the bloodstream and subsequent vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) with the bacteria Neisseria meningitides.

Is it contagious?

Meningitis manifests itself after a bacterial or viral infection.

Bacterial meningitis is much rarer but more serious than viral meningitis, according to the National Health Service.

Infections that cause meningitis can be spread through: sneezing; coughing; kissing and sharing utensils, cutlery and toothbrushes.

Where are the confirmed cases from?

The Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland confirmed two people tested positive for meningococcal septicaemia the Southern Health and Social Care Trust (S.H.S.C.T.) area.

What is the geographical breakdown of the S.H.S.C.T.?

The five hospitals in the S.H.S.C.T. area are: Craigavon Area Hospital, Daisy Hill Hospital, Lurgan Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital and South Tyrone Hospital.

What is being done to stop it from spreading?

Both families have received preventative medication (antibiotics) as have a number of children and staff at the school.

This has been done as a precautionary measure and there is no risk to the wider public.

Antibiotics are offered only to those people who have had close and prolonged personal contact with patient/s.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and can include: a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above; being sick; a headache; a blotchy rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it (this won't always develop); a stiff neck; a dislike of bright lights; drowsiness or unresponsiveness and seizures (fits).

These symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear.

(Source: N.H.S. website)

What should I do if I think my child has meningitis?

Seek medical help immediately.

Contact your G.P. and/or your local out of hours service.