Meningitis symptoms warning: New DEADLY strain of condition on the rise

Experts are concerned that many teenagers in the UK are unprotected from a deadly new strain of meningitis.

Cases of meningococcal W meningitis and septicaemia (MenW) have been rising for several years.

In 2015, a new MenACWY vaccination programme was introduced for teenagers in order to combat its spread.

However, only a third of school leavers in 2016 had the vaccine.

New research has revealed a worryingly low awareness of the risks.

Additionally, data shows that just 33 per cent of teenagers between the age of 14 and 18 think meningitis vaccines are needed at school or university.

The research, supported by Meningitis Research Foundation and the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations, discovered that 29 per cent of teenagers incorrectly believe meningitis is not contagious, while a further 29 per cent don’t know whether it is or not.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, according to the NHS.

Symptoms include headache, vomiting, limb pain, fever, and cold hands and feet. 

If a rash or neck stiffness develop, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

There is an urgent campaign for teenagers to be vaccinated in time for the start of term for university.

Students are at a particular risk because they mix with so many other people, some of whom could be unknowingly carrying the bacteria.

If a vulnerable person encounters the bacteria, they risk suffering life-threatening meningitis or septicaemia.

Experts are warning now could be the last chance for young people to get a life-saving vaccine.

Ideally students should be vaccinated more than two weeks before starting university, but they can still get the MenACWY vaccine from a GP once they start.

To find out if you're eligible for a free MenACWY vaccine, check here.