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49 per cent of people believe meningitis only affects small children. (They're wrong).

A survey carried out by an Irish charity found there were some widespread misunderstandings about the illness.

Image: bacteria via Shutterstock

ALMOST HALF OF respondents to a survey said they believed meningitis only affected babies and small children, according to an Irish charity set up to raise awareness of the illness.

308 people took part in the online poll, carried out by ACT for Meningitis.

“It’s important to say anyone of any age can be affected by meningitis,” CEO of the charity Siobhan Carroll says.

These results show there is a misunderstanding of who can be affected.

While children under five are the most at-risk group, young people aged between 16 and 14 are the second most likely age group to be affected — followed by those aged 65 and over, Carroll explains.

The charity’s highlighting its survey findings to mark World Meningitis Day — held every year to raise the global profile of the illness.

An inflammation of the meninges (the membrane lining of the brain and spinal cord) —meningitis can be life threatening. While the viral strain usually doesn’t end in a fatality, bacterial meningitis has the potential to cause death within hours if not properly treated.

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Carroll is urging parents in particular to view and download their new awareness card from the ACT for Meningitis website, and to make themselves aware of potential symptoms…

[View on the ACT for meningitis website]

Read: Lifesaving jab for children in Northern Ireland – but not the Republic (yet)

Read: Warning issued after children at Cavan creche diagnosed with meningitis

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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