Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Meningitis Warning after Youngster Dies

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Meningitis Warning after Youngster Dies

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Sturdy

A child has died and another five have been struck down by the killer brain bug meningitis on Teesside, the Gazette can reveal today.

A warning has been flashed to parents after one youngster, from the Hartlepool area, died after contracting the B strain of the deadly virus last month.

A further five children across Teesside, aged up to 16, have since been confirmed as suffering from the same form of the potentially fatal bug.

Today health chiefs urged parents to take extra care and be aware of the warning signs of the B-strain of the virus, which has no vaccination.

Ian Holtby, consultant in communicable disease for the Tees area, said: "We just want parents to be vigilant and make sure their children are protected against the strains for which there is a vaccination.

"Unfortunately, there is no vaccination against the B strain but we asking parents to be aware."

The latest case was confirmed earlier this month but Dr Holtby said all six were isolated.

Tragically, one youngster was unable to fight off the virus but the other five are now all undergoing courses of antibiotics.

Middlesbrough dad Stuart Humphreys supported the alarm sounded by health chiefs.

Mr Humphreys, from Marton, endured the ordeal of watching his son Guy, now 22, fighting the killer virus when he was just 16.

The former Yarm School student was rushed into intensive care, where he was given a lumbar puncture and 20 litres of fluid to help him fight off the devastating bug.

"I went through hell and back," said Mr Humphreys. "I can only offer my heartfelt sympathy to the families involved.

"The symptoms are so much like a head cold, it is not like a sore or a boil that is visible.

"Until Guy contracted it, I had never heard much about it but it proved that awareness is critical.

"If you even consider it to be a possibility, then contact a doctor as soon as possible. …

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