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Up to 4 cases of meningitis and septicaemia under investigation

Two of the people affected have died.

THE HSE HAS confirmed that it is investigating four cases of meningococcal meningitis septicaemia reported in the last week of September; 3 cases are confirmed and one is possible.

Three of the cases are reported to be caused by serogroup B bacteria. Two of the people affected have died.

The cases were reported from different regions of the country and have no known links with each other.

Meningitis is a serious illness involving inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

It can be caused by a variety of different germs, mainly bacterial and viruses.

“Bacterial meningitis, such as in these cases, is less common but usually more serious than viral meningitis and requires urgent treatment with antibiotics,” a HSE spokesperson said.

Bacterial meningitis may be accompanied by septicaemia (blood poisoning). 

Three of the cases are young adults and one case is less than 10 years of age.

An investigation is already underway by the Department of Public Health’s Mid-West area into the death of a female aged under 30 in Limerick.

“Public Health Mid-West was notified of the case in late September, and concerns a young adult who subsequently sadly died. Close contacts identified by Public Health Mid-West have been contacted and offered treatment in accordance with national guidance,” added the spokesman. 

Early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia can include fever, headache, neck stiffness, vomiting, drowsiness, discomfort from bright light and diarrhoea.

The HSE advises that if anyone has any concerns they should contact their GP in the first instance but ensure that medical expertise is sought quickly.

Close contacts are being identified by public health and will be provided with antibiotics to prevent infection and will also be offered vaccine if appropriate.

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