Meningitis Now: Tackling virus by making it visible

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A charity is urging people who have had viral meningitis to back its ‘Make Viral Visible’ campaign and dispel myths about the disease.

Meningitis Now wants to end the misconception that this form of the disease is not dangerous and always ‘mild’.

The charity’s fifth annual Viral Meningitis Week, from May 1-7, wants to raise awareness 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 the disease can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. The disease can affect anyone of any age.

Research carried out by the charity details the far-reaching impact of viral meningitis, often dismissed as a less serious disease than bacterial meningitis.

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, Director of Communications and Marketing at Meningitis Now, 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.

“We’re calling on everyone to Make Viral Visible – and help raise awareness by talking about the disease.”

For more information on the charity visit www.meningitisnow.org

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