Health warnings after Fife teen dies of meningitis

The 19-year-old man was taken to hospital last week, but sadly died on Saturday. Picture: Jane Barlow

The 19-year-old man was taken to hospital last week, but sadly died on Saturday. Picture: Jane Barlow

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NHS chiefs have issued a health warning after a teenage boy died of meningitis at a hospital.

The 19-year-old from West Fife was admitted to the Victoria Hospital, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, with meningococcal meningitis last Thursday, where he died two days later after succumbing to the disease.

“A 19-year-old man was admitted by ambulance to the Victoria Hospital on Thursday, April 9, where his condition deteriorated”

NHS Fife spokesman

His family and people who have come into close contact with him have been offered antibiotics to reduce the chance of the infection spreading.

A spokesperson from NHS Fife said: “A 19-year-old man from West Fife has died after being admitted to the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, with meningococcal disease (meningitis).

“He was admitted by ambulance to the Victoria Hospital on Thursday, 9 April where his condition deteriorated.

“He sadly passed away in intensive care on 11 April.”

The health board has issued a warning to members of the public to watch out for symptoms of the disease, which comes in two main forms – viral and bacterial.

The bacterial strain, from which the Fife patient suffered, can often be fatal.

Dr Charles Saunders, NHS Fife consultant in public health medicine, said: “This is a very sad event and I would like to extend my sympathies to this young man’s family and friends.

“Symptoms of meningococcal disease can include fever or vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, drowsiness and a rash that does not disappear if pressed with a glass.

“Furthermore, young children may refuse food, appear drowsy or agitated, and have unusual body movements or a shrill, moaning cry when handled.”

Dr Saunders added: “However, not everybody with meningococcal infection shows these symptoms.”

“People should seek immediate medical attention if they suspect that either they or one of their family members may have meningococcal infection.”

Around 3,200 people are diagnosed with meningitis and associated septicaemia every year, according to figures from the Meningitis Research

Foundation.

About one in ten people who contract the disease will die while a quarter of people who survive the initial diagnosis will suffer devastating after-effects, such as deafness, blindness, epilepsy, severe mental impairment and multiple amputations.

Babies in Scotland are to be vaccinated against meningitis B (MenB), which is caused by meningococcal B bacteria.

Health secretary Shona Robison announced plans last month for the vaccine, Bexsero, to be introduced on the NHS “as quickly as possible”. It could be available as early as September.

The vaccination will be given in three doses at two, four and

12 months, and all babies in Scotland aged over two months when it is introduced will be eligible.

The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has also advised that there should be a one-off, catch-up programme for babies aged three and four months when the vaccinations start.

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