Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Be #VocalAboutViral for Viral Meningitis Week

Andy Hopkinson | 3rd May 2021

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

Raise awareness for Viral Meningitis Week

Our annual Viral Meningitis Week, between 3 and 9 May, seeks 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.

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. 

Seek medical help

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

Research we’ve carried out previously has detailed the far-reaching impact of viral meningitis, often dismissed as a less serious disease than bacterial meningitis

Debilitating after-effects were just as likely to affect people’s day-to-day activities as were those from bacterial meningitis, turning their emotional and economic lives upside down and stealing their ability to learn, play and work. 

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

Raise awareness

For this year’s awareness week we’re pledging to continue to raise awareness about viral meningitis and provide support for sufferers, including access to complementary therapies. 

Viral meningitis cannot be treated with antibiotics. Rehydration, painkillers and plenty of rest are the best remedy. Most people will make a full recovery but the process can be slow. The majority of sufferers no longer experience after-effects six months after their illness but for some the effects can be lifelong.

Mark Hunt, our Director of Communications and Marketing, 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 Be #VocalAboutViral – and help raise awareness by talking about the disease.”