Meningococcal meningitis suspected cases investigated


The HSE has confirmed that is it investigating two cases of suspected meningococcal meningitis in Navan, Co Meath. The cases were reported to the Department of Public Health, HSE North East on March 9th, and concern two children under 12 who were hospitalised, one of whom subsequently died. Spread of meningococcal from person to person is very unusual, especially outside of close household contact. 

Meningitis is a serious illness involving inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a variety of different germs, mainly bacterial and viruses. Bacterial meningitis is less common but usually more serious than viral meningitis and requires urgent treatment with antibiotics. Bacterial meningitis may be accompanied by septicaemia (blood poisoning). The bacteria live naturally in the nose and throat of normal healthy persons without causing illness. The spread of the bacteria is caused by droplets from the nose and mouth. The illness occurs most frequently in young children and adolescents, usually as isolated cases. Bacterial meningitis or septicaemia requires urgent antibiotic treatment.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Severe Headaches
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Discomfort from bright light
  • Neck stiffness

The HSE advises that if anyone has any concerns they should contact their GP in the first instance but ensure that medical expertise is sought.

Further information

HSE press release - Meningitis Statement 9/3/18

HPSC - Meningococcal disease factsheet

HPSC - Latest reports on Invasive Meningococcal Disease, Bacterial/Viral Meningitis and Haemophilus influenzae in Ireland