A Burton mum whose daughter battled meningitis has welcomed a new test which will help diagnose children with the disease within an hour.
Louise Colver, 39, endured every parent's worst nightmare when first daughter Grace was diagnosed with the deadly disease at only 10 days old.
The mum of two, from Shobnall, has spoken out about the "scary" experience which left the Shobnnall Primary School pupil with epilepsy and other health problems, in the hope of raising awareness about the condition and has welcomed the new diagnostic tool created by experts.
She said: "Grace was my first baby and as a new mum I didn’t know what to expect. I didn't know what was normal. When she stopped taking milk and was really sick I took her to an out-of-hours GP service.
"They could tell something was wrong but it wasn't what they thought. We had to wait for 48 hours for the results to come back and the wait was agonising.
"After a blood test and lumbar puncture, the doctors came to tell us at three o'clock in the morning that our baby girl had meningitis.
"It was so scary and it just didn't sink in. When you hear the word meningitis fear strikes your heart and you think of a big rash and losing limbs.
"I didn't know much about it at all and I wasn't aware that people could get it so young; that babies can get it. We later found out that Grace had contracted it at birth but was not diagnosed until she was 10 days old.
"We spent the next four months by her bedside but Grace fought hard and we were lucky. It is terrifying thinking about what would have happened if we hadn’t gone to the out-of-hours surgery."
Mrs Colver has shared her story after it was announced that scientists have come up with Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP), a new diagnostic tool created by experts at Queen's University Belfast and The Belfast Trust, which can provide results within an hour.
Standard tests for meningococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis and blood poisoning, can take up to 48 hours for results to come back.
Researchers said the test could prevent children with meningococcal disease being wrongly sent home, potentially saving dozens of lives every year, while it can also prevent children being admitted for treatment unnecessarily.
The new diagnostic test has been assessed in a two-year study alongside standard NHS tests and researchers said the LAMP diagnostic tool proved to be as efficient as the standard test in returning an accurate diagnosis.
Ms Colver, who is a librarian at the University of Wolverhampton, said the new development was very positive but warns parents to take "a note of caution" when relying on the results.
She said: "Grace had a really rare form of meningitis that can be deadly but does not cause septicaemia. Only two people a year in the UK get it so she was really unlucky.
"In her case the fear would be that the new test might not pick it up as it only detects the meningococcal type but it is great to see that there is more being done and this test makes it quicker and less painful for the child.
"Keeping it in the news can be a brilliant thing for lots of children and I definitely welcome the new test."
Grace, who turned 10 last week, is said to be "doing pretty well" and continues to show support for meningitis charities by raising cash with bake sales.
Ms Colver, who is also mum to Zoe, seven, said: "Grace and her sister love to do their bit for the charities that have helped her and only last week they held a cake sale in the front garden which raised £200.
"Grace is a beautiful, bright little girl who loves sleepovers, books and reading, although the scarring on her brain has left her with the conditions epilepsy and hydrocephalus.
"I would encourage all parents to know the symptoms of meningitis and to get medical help quickly if you think something is wrong. Trust your instincts."
The Meningitis Research Foundation estimates that there are on average around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK.
They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in 10, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life-altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs. Babies, toddlers and young adults are most at risk.