I was encouraged to read your article on September 17 about Ann Sargent being able to hear again after meningitis left her deaf in one ear when she was 33 [To deafness and back again: Ann helps others on their disorienting journey, Gazette, September 17].

We wish Ann every success in setting up a support group for others who find themselves in a similar situation.

Here at Meningitis UK we sadly know only too well how devastating meningitis can be and how quickly it can take hold.

Knowing the symptoms and seeking prompt treatment can make a vital difference to the outcome. However sadly, sometimes even if the symptoms are recognised, prompt treatment sought and the best medical care is given, it is still not enough to save a life.

Meningitis is also often incredibly difficult to detect as the symptoms are hard to distinguish from the common cold and flu, plus there are occasions when people show no or very few symptoms.

For all these reasons, we believe prevention is the only way to truly eradicate the disease and developing a preventative vaccine to protect against all forms of meningitis and its associated diseases is our sole focus at Meningitis UK.

Last year we launched our Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign, which aims to raise £7million to fund lifesaving research into developing a vaccine against Meningitis B - the most common form of meningitis in the UK for which there is currently no vaccine.

The number four signifies the devastating fact that meningitis can kill in under four hours.

Great advances have been made in the last 20 years including vaccines against Hib, Meningitis C and Pneumococcal Meningitis, and our scientists believe that a vaccine can be found within the next few years if we can raise £7million to support the breakthroughs being made.

In the absence of a vaccine,we also distribute a wide range of material to raise awareness of the common symptoms and the need to act quickly, which can mean the difference between life and death.

If any of your readers would like a symptoms information pack, or to find out more about supporting our Search for a Vaccine Campaign, they can call Meningitis UK on 0117 373 7373.


Meningitis UK, Cleve Wood Road,