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Published Tuesday 6 Nov 2018

Public being urged to familiarise themselves with the most frequent symptoms of this nasty disease.

The Ministry of Health is asking GPs and emergency departments around the country to keep a close eye out for people seeking medical help with possible symptoms of meningococcal disease.

They’re voicing concerns over the rising numbers of cases of the disease. So far this year there have been 96, up from just 45 during all of 2014.

Director of Public Health, Dr Caroline McElnay, said the wider public should also boost their knowledge of the disease to ensure those with possible symptoms seek swift medical attention.

Symptoms of meningitis can develop suddenly and include:

  • a high fever

  • headache

  • sleepiness

  • joint and muscle pains.

    There can also be some more specific symptoms, such as:

  • a stiff neck

  • dislike of bright lights

  • vomiting

  • crying

  • refusal to feed (in infants)

  • a rash consisting of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises.

If you or anyone in your family has these symptoms, call your doctor straight away or dial 111, stating clearly what your symptoms are. You can also call Healthline free on 0800 611 116, 24 hours a day – even if you have already been seen by a health professional.

If you have seen a doctor and have gone home, but are still concerned, don't hesitate to call your doctor again or seek further medical advice. Don’t be put off. Insist on immediate action.

Visit the Ministry of Health website for more information.