11:24 Tuesday 31 December 2013

Parents' issue warning over spotting meningitis

Written byROB SMYTH

PEOPLE are being urged to not mistake meningitis for flu by the parents who lost their three-year-old daughter to the disease.

Kevin and Sara Peach, of St John’s Drive, Newhall, have joined forces with the Meningitis Research Foundation to try to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as their little girl Katie.

The youngster, who was a pupil at Fairmeadows Foundation Primary School, in Newhall, battled the bacterial infection for 13 days in 2011 before it finally beat her.

They are now using their experiences to help others, as they thought Katie was suffering from a ‘normal winter bug’ before she was diagnosed with meningitis.

Kevin said: “It escalated into something much more serious in such a short space of time.

“Everyone did everything they could to save our daughter’s life but, sadly, it was not meant to be.

“She spent one day short of two weeks fighting the disease before she passed away with her family around her.

“Meningitis and septicaemia are diseases you never expect to happen but, when they strike, they can be devastating – not just for the person who falls sick but for all their loved ones, family and friends.

“If anyone is unsure, look at the Meningitis Research Foundation website – there is lots of information around and even phone apps you can download to help.”

Katie was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital in December 2011, before being transferred to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, where she died.

Chris Head, chief executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “We are entering the peak period for meningitis and septicaemia and many parents are not aware that their children are not protected against all strains.

“There is currently no vaccine available in the UK and Ireland against the most common cause of meningitis – meningococcal B infection. But, being aware of the symptoms of meningitis and acting fast is essential to saving lives.”

More information can be found online at www.meningitis.org.

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