We’re using this year’s Viral Meningitis Awareness Week, between 6 - 12 May, to raise awareness to inform the public, health professionals and employers about the true impact of the disease and the long-term problems it can bring.
We also want to help dispel myths and misconceptions that the viral form of the disease is mild, with those affected always making a quick recovery.
Expert opinion suggests 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.
Because the symptoms of viral meningitis are similar to the more dangerous bacterial form of the disease, we’re also urging people to seek urgent medical help if they are concerned that they or someone they know might have contracted the disease.
Dr Tom Nutt, our chief executive, 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.”
We’ve also pledged to continue to raise awareness about viral meningitis and provide support for sufferers through our new Rebuilding Futures Fund, which offers financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.
Viral meningitis can affect anyone of any age. The signs and symptoms can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion.
It cannot be treated with antibiotics. Rehydration, painkillers and plenty of rest are the best remedy. Most people will make a full recovery. However, for some recovery can be slow and the after-effects long-lasting.
These after-effects can be debilitating and just as likely to affect people’s day-to-day activities as those from bacterial meningitis, turning their emotional and economic lives upside down and affecting their ability to learn, play and work.
Take a look at our free viral meningitis factsheets.
Read the viral meningitis stories on our website.
Have you had viral meningitis? Share your story and help raise awareness – Make Viral Visible.
If you would like more information, contact our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.