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Viral meningitis leaves 97 per cent of its victims with after-effects, says the Meningitis Trust
12:00pm Wednesday 23rd January 2013 in News
A SURVEY commissioned by the Meningitis Trust has shown that a disease which is estimated to affect over 5,000 people a year leaves 97 per cent of its victims with debilitating after-effects.
Often compared with bacterial meningitis as the ‘milder strain’, with a short recovery period, viral meningitis is leaving its victims with exhaustion, headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety and hearing difficulties.
Many sufferers have to take long periods off education or work and struggle with day-to-day tasks that so many people take for granted.
With over 40 per cent of victims not receiving any information on the disease and only one in three (of all respondents) being offered a follow up hospital appointment, the trust is working to dispel the myth that this disease is ‘mild’.
Sue Davie, chief executive of the Meningitis Trust, says: “Too often we hear people say that they were made to feel less important because they ‘only’ had viral meningitis. Our study shows that victims are suffering with their after-effects long after their experience, confirming what we’ve always believed – that viral meningitis is not always a ‘mild’ disease. We will be using these findings to help us further improve the support we provide, educate health professionals and the public and empower victims.”
Tamily Butterton, 33, contracted viral meningitis in 2011 and was discharged after three days in hospital, when she was still in pain.
She said of her experience: “Meningitis left me with ongoing pain. I didn’t understand what was happening to me and felt as though no-one was listening. I was desperate for help and reassurance that I’d get better, so I went online and came across the Meningitis Trust. They had a nurse-led helpline, which became my lifeline for months. I felt relieved that there were experts who knew what I was experiencing. They understood and listened.”
Viral meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. These membranes are called the meninges – they help protect the brain from injury and infection.
Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis, but is rarely life-threatening.
The Meningitis Trust has a number of free services that are tailored to victims of viral meningitis, including funding complementary therapies, counselling, one-to-one support and home visits. Services can be accessed via the charity’s free 24-hour nurse-led helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or www.meningitis-trust.org/support.