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Meningitis and Septicaemia 15 Nov, 2017

Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes and linings that protect and surround the brain and the spinal cord.  Meningitis can be caused by many different organisms including bacteria and viruses.  Without prompt qualified medical assistance, bacterial meningitis can prove fatal.

Septicaemia (another name for blood poisoning) refers to a bacterial infection of the blood caused by meningitis.  Meningitis and septicaemia often occur together.


If you suspect meningitis or septicaemia get qualified medical assistance immediately.



Signs and Symptoms

Below are common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia that appear in both infants and children. 

The symptoms can appear in any order or may not appear at all.

Infants (0-12 months)

Child (1 year to puberty)

  • fever, cold hands and feet
  • vomiting/refusing food
  • dislike of being handled
  • drowsiness, floppy or unresponsive
  • rapid breathing, grunting
  • pale blotchy skin, spots/rash (see glasss test)      
  • unusual cry or moaning
  • tense bulging fontanelle (soft spot)
  • neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights/sunlight
  • seizures/convulsions
  • fever, cold hands and feet
  • vomiting
  • severe headache
  • drowsiness and difficult to wake
  • stiff neck
  • confusion and irritability
  • dislike of bright lights
  • severe muscle pain
  • convulsions/seizures
  • pale blotchy skin, spots/rash (see glass test)



Bacterial menigitis kills more children under the age of five within the UK than any other infectious disease.  Around 10% of bacterial meningitis cases result in death and around 15% of infants and children who survive are left with severe side effects such as brain damage, blindness and deafness.  


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