Sister of meningitis victim speaks out in awareness campaign week

PUBLISHED: 07:36 16 September 2014 | UPDATED: 08:50 16 September 2014

Vaccinations are available for meningitis C and other strains

Vaccinations are available for meningitis C and other strains

Dmitry Naumov

The sister of a young woman who died after contracting meningitis has spoken out as part of Meningitis Awareness Week.

Sarah Nickle, from Wanstead, has urged people to learn the symptoms of the disease after her younger sister Tara died three years ago after falling ill with meningococcal septicaemia.

Tara, 25, had just returned to the family’s home city of Belfast following a stint of travelling, starting a job teaching youngsters with special needs.

But she was struck down with the devastating illness just a day after moving into her new flat.

Sarah said: “My brother and I flew from London, arriving to join our parents shortly before she passed away.

“I’m supporting Meningitis Awareness Week as everyone needs to know the symptoms so they can seek medical help fast.”

The deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life-altering effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.

Children under five and students are most at risk, but the diseases can strike at any age and not all forms are currently covered by vaccines.

Christopher Head, chief executive of Meningitis Research Foundation added: “Meningitis and septicaemia are diseases you never expect to happen but sadly her personal experience really brings home how devastating these diseases can be and why it’s so important to be aware of the symptoms and be prepared to act fast when loved ones, family and friends fall sick.”

Vaccines have almost eliminated some types of meningitis, with children currently vaccinated against Hib, MenC and 13 strains of pneumococcal meningitis.

A MenB vaccine (Bexsero) was recommended for infants in the UK in March 2014 and is available privately but a timetable for implementation on the NHS is yet to be confirmed.

The Government has also introduced a new MenC booster campaign aimed at students this summer.

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