Figures released by the UK Health Security Agency show that cases of Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in England have increased from just 80 in 2020-2021 to 205 cases in the 12 months from July 2021 to June 2022.
The statistics also show that 179 of these cases were caused by MenB (meningococcal group B) with the majority of those (84 cases) occurring in adolescents and young adults aged between 15 and 24 years old.
The figures indicate that nearly a third of MenB cases occurred in children under five years of age and a similar number (32%) of MenB cases occurred in adults.
Our Chief Executive Dr Tom Nutt says, “These new figures are very concerning and indicate that there is still some way to go in our battle to defeat this disease.
“For much of this time the country was still in lockdown, when many of us were isolating or practising social distancing. As these restrictions eased, meningitis cases have in turn risen from what had been a historic low in the previous year.
“We did expect that cases of meningitis would increase following the pandemic, but these new figures indicate that there is still more to be done. We all need to remain aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis so that people know to act quickly and to seek urgent medical help to save lives.”
Cases in adults
Along with the rise in cases of IMD, we’re also increasingly concerned about the number of fatal cases of meningitis occurring in adults over the past three months.
Dr Nutt added, “We’re hearing about more cases of student-age and middle-aged adults dying from meningitis. While we wait for more statistical detail on the scale of this apparent rise, anecdotally we are aware of many more cases occurring in recent months. It is important that we all stay vigilant to the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.
“It’s vital that people seek urgent medical support if they suspect meningitis and keep up to date with all vaccinations. It is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from meningitis.”
We’re now calling for more support to help fund our vital work raising awareness of meningitis, funding research and providing essential support to people and their families who have been affected by the disease.
Those concerned about aspects of the disease or who need help can call our Freephone nurse-led Helpline on 0808 80 10 388, or email email@example.com. In a medical emergency call 999.
The figures are taken from the UKHSA - Invasive meningococcal disease in England: annual laboratory confirmed reports for epidemiological year 2021 to 2022, published on 31 January.