Diss Parents Warning About Meningitis

A family from Diss are warning parents in Norfolk and Suffolk that they need to know how to spot the symptoms of the deadly brain bug.

A new study commissioned by Meningitis UK says 60% of parents think their youngsters have had vaccines for all strains of the disease, with a further 37% being unsure.

James Thacker from Diss died in 2007 and his parents Jen and Keith want people to be more aware of the symptoms.

People are most at risk during the winter, with the majority of dangerous bacterial forms striking due to weakened immune systems and germs spreading more easily.

James had played a full 90 minutes for Garboldisham Football Club on the day he died, before heading home for a roast dinner.

His mum Jennifer said: “James even had cheese on toast before he went to bed, so we didn’t suspect anything was wrong.  He had a bit of a cold coming on but that didn’t concern us given that it was January and freezing outside.

“Then, a few hours later, James woke me up saying he was shivery and didn’t feel very well.  I knew something was wrong.  As he’d had his spleen taken out four years earlier I wasn’t going to take any risks so called out a paramedic.

“He diagnosed a winter flu vomiting bug and went away.  I had to call him back 90 minutes later because James got up and started screaming that he couldn’t see anything.  He had already gone blind.

“They took him to hospital and we never saw him alive again.”

The survey also shows that 58 per cent of those in East Anglia are unaware there is still no vaccine for the most common and one of the most deadly forms in the UK – meningitis B.
Meningitis Facts
  • Classic symptoms include a headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright light. Other symptoms can include difficulty supporting own weight, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, confusion and drowsiness.
  • It can cause septicaemia, which leads to aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash.
  • It is important to trust your instincts. If you suspect anything is wrong, seek medical help immediately.
  • Meningitis can affect anyone of any age, however babies, children under the age of five, young people aged 16-24 and the elderly are most at risk.
  • Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining that covers the brain and spinal cord.
  • In 2008 there were approximately 3,000 cases of all forms of meningitis provisionally recorded in the UK. Every year 300
  • Every week, six families face the traumatic loss of a loved one to meningitis.
  • No vaccine exists for Meningitis B, which is the most common form of the disease – accounting for 90% of meningococcal cases.
  • It can kill in under four hours, which is why prompt medical treatment is so important.