Meningitis survivor joins call for vaccine

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A MENINGITIS survivor from Horsham is calling for a meningococcal group B disease vaccine after she was left with tinnitus and nerve damage in her ears.

Zoe Jeanes, aged 31, of Goose Green Close, contracted the deadly disease in 2005 when she was 18. “I woke up in the middle of the night being violently sick, with a terrible headache and sore neck,” she said.

“When I visited my GP he said I had a migraine and should go home to rest. A few hours later I discovered a rash so I was rushed into A&E and then taken to intensive care and put on a life support and dialysis machine.

“A lumbar puncture confirmed I had meningococcal septicaemia and my parents were told by doctors they didn’t think I would make it through the night. Three days later I was taken off the machines. I have been left with the memory of a goldfish, tinnitus in my ears and nerve damage in my ears.

“However, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t remember how lucky I am and hope no-one else goes through what I had to.”

Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that can strike anyone without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life-long after effects.

Zoe is supporting Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) campaign ‘Counting the Cost of Meningitis’.

This shows the shocking lifelong financial costs of surviving meningitis and septicaemia and is calling on the Government to pursue the widest and earliest implementation of vaccines to prevent the diseases.

Christopher Head, chief executive of MRF, said: “’Counting the Cost of Meningitis’ shows how those who survive can struggle to come to terms with the impact of these horrific diseases which change lives forever.

“Our campaign makes practical recommendations to Government to reduce the burden of disease through vaccination in the UK.

“Vaccination provides peace of mind for every parent across the country and to date over 4,000 people agree with us and have signed our online petition. I appeal to the people of Horsham to sign our petition too and join the fight against meningitis and septicaemia.”

MRF have also launched a video to support their petition this week to help generate support for the campaign and raise awareness of the importance of vaccination.

l The Meningitis Research Foundation reveals on its website (www.meningitis.org) that it receives corporate support in the form of ‘unrestricted grants’ and other sponsorship from Novartis Vaccines, manufacturers of the new meningitis B vaccine.