Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Be #VocalAboutViral for a week of viral meningitis awareness

Andy Hopkinson | 2nd May 2022

Our annual Viral Meningitis Week, where we focus attention on the viral form of meningitis, takes place as usual during the first week in May (2 to 8 May)

Viral Meningitis Awareness Week 2022

We’re calling for those who have suffered from viral meningitis to be #VocalAboutViral to help dispel myths and misconceptions that this form of the disease is not dangerous and always ‘mild’

We want 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.

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.

Affect anyone of any age

Symptoms of viral meningitis can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. The disease can affect anyone of any age. 

We urge anyone concerned about viral meningitis to seek medical help.

Viral meningitis 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.

Debilitating after-effects

After-effects can include exhaustion, headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety and hearing difficulties. Many sufferers need to take long periods off education or work, and struggle with the day-to-day tasks that most people take for granted.

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.

Bev Corbett, our Director of Information and Support, said: “It’s vital that everybody understands that viral meningitis can be serious and that those who experience it 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 Be #VocalAboutViral – and help raise awareness by talking about the disease.”

Support for individuals and families

We have a range of free services to support individuals and their families after viral meningitis, including our Rebuilding Futures Fund.

We also have information and fact sheets about viral meningitis. Read more about the symptoms and after-effects and download the guides.

If you have been affected by viral meningitis, please contact our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email helpline@meningitisnow.org. Do not suffer from viral meningitis alone.

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