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HSE investigating 12th possible case of meningitis

 

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A spike in meningitis cases leading to three deaths is causing concern and unease among many parents across the country. (stock picture)

A spike in meningitis cases leading to three deaths is causing concern and unease among many parents across the country. (stock picture)

Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

A spike in meningitis cases leading to three deaths is causing concern and unease among many parents across the country. (stock picture)

The HSE is investigating another possible case of meningitis following recent deaths after a spike in people diagnosed with the potentially lethal infection.

Three people have died from various strains of meningitis in recent weeks.

It was revealed last week that eleven cases were identified between Christmas Eve and January 6.

The HSE confirmed it is now investigating a possible twelfth case.

The HSE today advised the public to be vigilant regarding meningitis and reminded parents to ensure their children are fully vaccinated.

The HSE said the spike is not an outbreak which would mean that one person picked up the infection from another.

There is no link between the cases.

“This is not an outbreak, but reflects the known increased incidence of meningococcal disease in winter and early spring.

“Among the eleven cases, different age groups were affected, different strains were reported (B,C,W,Y), different regions of the country reported the cases and there were no links found between the cases.”

 “Sadly, three of the cases have died; none was caused by meningococcal strains that are covered by the vaccines in the national childhood programme -the strains were not B or C.

There have been called to extend the vaccine to protect against the B strain to older children under the HSE’s free scheme .

It is currently confined to babies born since October 2016.

The HSE and Minister for Health Simon Harris said the expert advice was that this was not warranted.

They said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) makes recommendations on immunisations based on epidemiology and international medical evidence.

The HSE said: “Historically the incidence of meningitis B has been highest in infants under one year. Following a NIAC recommendation, Men B vaccine has been part of the Universal Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme for all children born on or after 1st October 2016.”

Dr John Cuddihy, Director of Public Health, HSE South said the HSE is advising parents to ensure their children receive all the vaccines offered free as part of the normal immunisation schedule.

“It is important that parents ensure their child completes all five sessions of the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme.”

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