Viral Meningitis Week runs between 6th and 12th of May 2019. It seeks to raise awareness about the true impact of the disease and the long-term problems it can bring.
The UK’s leading meningitis charity is calling for those who have suffered from the viral form of the disease to ‘Make Viral Visible’ to help dispel myths and misconceptions that this form of the disease is not dangerous and always ‘mild’.
It is thought that up to 6,000 people each year across the UK suffer from viral meningitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. The majority of cases happen during the warmer months.
Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive at Meningitis Now, said:
“It’s vital that everybody understands how serious viral meningitis can be and that those suffering it, and their families and friends who are also affected, are not afraid to speak out about it and seek the support they need.
“For our Viral Meningitis Week we’re calling on everyone to Make Viral Visible – and help raise awareness by talking about the disease.”
The charity has pledged to continue to raise awareness about viral meningitis and provide support for sufferers through its new Rebuilding Futures Fund, which offers financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.
Symptoms of viral meningitis can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. The disease can affect anyone of any age.
Meningitis Now is urging anyone concerned about viral meningitis to seek medical help.
Research carried out by the charity details the far-reaching impact of viral meningitis, often dismissed as a less serious disease than bacterial meningitis.
Debilitating after-effects were just as likely to affect people’s day-to-day activities as were those from bacterial meningitis, turning their emotional and economic lives upside down and stealing their ability to learn, play and work.
After-effects include exhaustion, headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety and hearing difficulties. Many sufferers have to take long periods off education or work, and struggle with the day-to-day tasks that most people take for granted.
Viral meningitis cannot be treated with antibiotics. Rehydration, painkillers and plenty of rest are the best remedy. Most people will make a full recovery but the process can be slow. The majority of sufferers no longer experience after-effects six months after their illness but for some the effects can be lifelong.
The charity has free viral meningitis factsheets, providing more information for patients, health professionals and employers. They can be found on the Meningitis Now website
There is also a helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or firstname.lastname@example.org