4th April 2003 at 01:00
Did you know?

* Young people are particularly susceptible to meningitis. Children under five are most at risk - the disease is the number one killer of this age group - but the next most vulnerable group are 13 to 19-year-olds

* There are two basic types: one is caused by viruses, the other by bacteria. Viral meningitis is more common, but less harmful. Bacterial meningitis is much rarer, with around 2,500 cases in the UK each year

* The disease can kill with alarming speed. In some cases there may be just two hours between the first signs of illness and death

* Evidence suggests that the pound;240 million MenC vaccination programme introduced in 1999 has cut the incidence in under-18s by 75 per cent, effectively saving 50 lives a year. The programme is being extended to under-25s

* Evidence suggests that good general hygiene - regular hand-washing, not sharing drinks, and so on - can lessen the risk

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