Harriet S's story

6th January 2022

Suzi’s baby daughter Harriet was very fussy, wouldn’t drink her milk and had a high temperature

Harriet S viral meningitis case study

A lumbar puncture confirmed she’d contracted meningitis and Suzi, from Wakefield in West Yorkshire, was relieved to hear that it was viral, rather than bacterial, as she tells us here.

“My youngest daughter, Harriet, was 11 weeks old and although babies go through fussy stages I just knew something wasn’t right. She wasn’t drinking her milk and she usually fed really well. She was also constantly screaming and didn’t want to be held, which was unlike her. 

“I took her temperature, which was 38.6 degrees. I spoke to a doctor, who told us to go to hospital which we did. The doctors carried out tests and couldn’t find the cause for Harriet’s symptoms and therefore carried out a lumbar puncture, which determines whether or not it is meningitis. 

Viral or bacterial?

“We later received the results that it was indeed meningitis, but at that point it wasn’t clear whether it was viral or bacterial, so they treated Harriet straight away as if it was bacterial as a worse-case scenario. 

“A few days later we were relieved to find out that it was thankfully viral and she was on the mend. The whole process was a nightmare, especially having to go through it mostly on my own due to Covid.

“Prior to this I’d never even heard of viral meningitis. I definitely think there needs to be more awareness of viral meningitis, as most people don’t seem to be aware that there are two different kinds. 

“As soon as I heard the word meningitis I thought the very worst and think knowing that the viral kind is much more common than bacterial would help a lot of parents in my position and stop them from worrying quite as much.

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