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Family who lost child to meningitis warn others
The parents of a little boy who died from meningitis are warning others to make sure they can recognise the symptoms of the disease.
Little Zachary Berryman lost his fight for life just 12 hours after developing meningitis B septicaemia.
Eight years after the 15- month-old’s death, his parents Toby, 44, and Caroline, 38, are backing a national awareness campaign by the Meningitis Research Foundation.
The disease can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaves a quarter of survivors with life-altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.
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Children under five and students are most at risk, but the disease can affect any age and not all forms are currently covered by vaccines.
Mr Berryman said on behalf of the couple: “Zach had always been fit and healthy but one night he became poorly and irritable and had trouble sleeping.
“The next morning we noticed a tiny rash on his body.
“We called a doctor and Zach was rushed to hospital where doctors fought to save him.
“However despite every effort, the infection was too much for Zach and he died just hours after arriving in hospital.
“It was the speed at which it all happened which was hard to deal with, one minute we had a healthy happy boy and then he was gone.
“Meningitis and septicaemia are diseases you never expect to happen, but when they strike they can be devastating, not just for the person who falls sick, but for all their loved ones, family and friends.”
Research foundation chief executive Chris Head said: “A new vaccine for meningococcal B infection is currently under consideration and may not be introduced because of costs.
“We are extremely disappointed by this and campaigning hard for a change of heart.
“Vaccines have almost eliminated many types of meningitis but meningitis and septicaemia still present a very real threat to our children.
“People are still not fully protected against all types, so being aware of the symptoms and acting fast is essential to saving lives.”
Symptoms of meningitis include a high fever, stiffness in the neck, drowsiness or confusion, a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights and red or purple bruise-like spots that do not fade when a clear glass is pressed against them.
For more details visit meningitis.org.
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