Rugby boy ‘nearly died’ of meningitis

Lynn Bayliss from Clifton on Dunsmore and two year old Son Jacob, who survived meningitis, pictured in 2012
Lynn Bayliss from Clifton on Dunsmore and two year old Son Jacob, who survived meningitis, pictured in 2012

A mum who nearly lost her little boy to meningitis is making people aware of the disease so people can act quickly if any symptoms appear.

Lynn Bayliss said her son Jacob was just five months old when he contracted the disease, which can kill within hours.

She is raising awareness as part of national Meningitis Awareness Week.

Lynn, of North Street, Clifton, said: “My son contracted pneumococcal meningitis in 2010 when he was five months old. At no time did we ever think there was anything serious wrong – let alone the fact it could be meningitis.

“We have never felt as helpless as parents and it was very difficult for us to understand and comprehend the seriousness of the illness.”

Jacob was in hospital for nearly three weeks.

“Thankfully he has no lasting effects and has started school like any other little boy,” added Lynn.

Meningitis and septicaemia affect about nine people in the UK and Ireland every day.

They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.

Children under five and students are most at risk, but the diseases can strike at any age and not all forms are currently covered by vaccines.

Lynn added: “I’m supporting Meningitis Awareness Week as everyone needs to know the symptoms so they can seek medical help fast.”

Christopher Head, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said: “Meningitis and septicaemia are diseases you never expect to happen but her personal experience really brings home how devastating these diseases can be and why it’s so important to be aware of the symptoms and be prepared to act fast when loved ones, family and friends fall sick.”

THE DANGER SIGNS

Vaccines have almost eliminated some types of meningitis but not all of them. Children are currently vaccinated against Hib, MenC and 13 strains of pneumococcal meningitis. Symptoms include sudden high fever; severe headache; stiff neck; vomiting or nausea with headache; confusion or difficulty concentrating; seizures; sleepiness or difficulty waking up; sensitivity to light; lack of interest in drinking and eating, skin rash in some cases, such as in meningococcal meningitis. Signs in newborns include poor feeding and stiffness.