New research findings by the Meningitis Trust highlights the long-term effects of meningitis. The charity is calling for assessments and educational support to become routine for every child who survives the disease.
With 5756 people living with the drastic effects of meningitis in Suffolk right now and 104 new cases each year it is essential for the disease to be at the forefront of minds.
The Meningitis Trust’s ‘Meningitis Changes Futures’ Campaign is backed by new research which shows the often invisible but devastating impact of meningococcal disease (a form of meningitis) on children.
The campaign is being launched at a time when the numbers getting meningitis are set to rise because of the traditional winter peak in the disease.
One in four people who survive meningitis will suffer some form of long-term after-effect. While some suffer obvious after-effects, such as loss of limbs and blindness, others – who appear to have made a full recovery – are left with psychological and neurological problems that often go unrecognised. Children can be left struggling at school, deprived of the educational support they need to reach their potential.
According to new research, children who survive meningococcal disease (a type of meningitis) are:
five times more likely to have speech, communication and hearing problems
four times more likely to have mental health problems
six times more likely to have epilepsy
significantly more likely to have memory and IQ problems
Sue Davie, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Trust, said: “Parents who have had to watch their child fight for their life when meningitis has struck now have to fight for their child to get the best chance in life. Recognition of the needs of these children should be a right, not a lottery”.
As part of the ‘Meningitis Changes Futures’ campaign, the Meningitis Trust is calling for every child survivor of meningitis to be assessed at different points in their educational life – as different problems can arise over time – so they can be given the support they need, when they need it. People are being urged to sign the Meningitis Trust education petition today at www.MeningitisChangesFutures.co.uk.
Every six hours meningitis could rob a child of its future – many who survive the disease are left with after-effects such as brain damage, deafness, memory loss or epilepsy.
The Meningitis Trust is helping rebuild these lives by providing support for life for victims of the disease, including funding additional educational support through unique financial grants. Every year the Meningitis Trust helps 20,000 people in the UK and is determined to reach out to the 500,000 people in the UK who have had meningitis, and those who will continue to contract it, providing support whenever it is needed.