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Tragic death of 11-month-old baby sparks calls for meningitis vaccine

The baby died earlier this week.
Nov 13th 2014, 5:20 PM 20,166 42

A MENINGITIS CHARITY has called for meningitis vaccines to be made available after an 11-month-old baby died of the disease.

The baby, from north Dublin, died from the “B” strain of meningitis earlier this week.

Charity ACT for Meningitis say that the news should prompt the the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) to make a vaccine more widespread.

Siobhan Carroll CEO ACT for Meningitis said the NIAC should recommend a vaccine as soon as possible.

“We are extremely saddened to hear of yet another death to Meningitis. Our thoughts are with the families and close friends of this child at this very difficult time. Knowing the signs and symptoms, ensuring vaccinations are up to date and trusting your instincts is the best protection against this deadly disease.

Currently, children are not vaccinated against all types of meningitis. Ireland has the highest incidence of meningococcal disease in Europe with meningitis b accounting for the majority of these cases.

Following the introduction of the C vaccine in Oct 2000, cases of Meningitis C in Ireland decreased by 98.6%.

Carroll says a vaccine is available, but has not been certified for general use.

“A meningitis B vaccine has been licensed by the European Commission since January 2013. The vaccine is currently available in Ireland privately. The decision to make the vaccine freely available as part of the National Immunisation programme, has been under consideration by The NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) for almost two years. This vaccine will save lives and the NIAC need to make a decision at their November meeting to prevent further tragedy such as the case in Dublin.”

Symptoms of Meningitis can include: Fever, vomiting, headache, limb pain, neck stiffness, sensitivity to bright lights, confusion and in some cases a rash may appear.

The HSE had not responded to a request for comment.

First published, 3.30pm

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Paul Hosford

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