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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Be aware of warning signs for deadly bug

UP UNTIL his final hours little Liam Elliot showed no signs of the illness that was to claim his life.

He died from meningitis, aged just 17 months, nearly six years ago.

His mum, Suzanne, has since strongly encouraged other parents to be aware of potentially lethal signs so that other lives may be saved.

The Keswick woman has spoken out ahead of Meningitis Awareness Week, which starts on Monday.

She said: “My son Liam was a healthy 17-month-old strong happy little boy.

“Up until he went to sleep he was fine but sadly in his sleep meningococcal septicaemia group B had taken over his little body and sadly my son died. He had no signs or symptoms and to say we were shocked was an understatement.”

The deadly B strain of meningococcal septicaemia, which claimed Liam’s life does not always display the traditional symptoms usually associated with the disease.

Despite the best efforts of doctors, they were unable to save little Liam and he died just two hours later.

Although children are vaccinated against other strains of meningitis, there is no vaccine to protect them from the group B strain.

That is why it is even more important for parents to be extra vigilant and realise that every second counts.

The Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) says meningitis and septicaemia affect about 3,600 people in the UK and Ireland every year.

Another Cumbrian mum supporting the campaign is Anne Glendinning. Her daughter, Sally, a former pupil of Carlisle’s Richard Rose Central Academy, died aged 17 from meningitis in January 2011.

Mrs Glendinning said: “She took ill with a sore throat and fever which the out-of-hours doctor diagnosed as flu. The next evening Sally had been sick, had an awful bad head and didn’t like the light. She was talking gibberish, had a completely blank expression and was thrashing about.

“She was taken to Cumberland Infirmary where they worked all night to try to save her life but couldn’t work a miracle. Sally lost her fight for life aged 17. We love and miss her so very much.”

The MRF estimates that the life-long costs to the Government of medical treatment and ongoing care for a person seriously disabled by the disease are around £3m.

For a list of symptoms visit www.meningitis.org or download the free iPhone App from www.bit.ly/MRFapp.

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