A MENINGITIS survivor is leading a campaign to highlight the disease.
Huddersfield teenager George Lane has survived meningitis four times and is urging people to trust their instincts if they believe they have the symptoms.
Cases of meningitis traditionally peak in February and George is backing Meningitis UK’s campaign advising people to understand the symptoms.
The 18-year-old head boy at Shelley College was rushed to hospital three times when he was six, twice with meningococcal meningitis and once with the more aggressive pneumococcal bug.
After 11 years, George thought meningitis belonged firmly in his past but in August, his immune system came under attack again by pneumococcal meningitis.
He said: “I developed a really bad headache and hoped it would go away.
“When I was younger I began to recognise what a meningitis headache felt like, but as so much time had lapsed, alarm bells weren’t ringing.
“I went to bed with a bad headache and then started being sick every half hour. I had a temperature but luckily my mum kept checking on me and when I then became delirious she called my dad into my room.
“The ambulance arrived and because of my history I was given antibiotics before we left the house. I think that is the reason I am still here now. The earlier you treat it, the more likely you are to be okay.”
The bright history and politics student has been put in touch with Meningitis UK advisor and one of the world’s leading experts in infectious diseases, Professor Robert Read.
“I thought I had closure on this. But on a positive note, having meningitis again at this age has made me aware of spotting the signs.
“Speaking to Professor Read was such a great help and he has given me the best explanation yet of the possible reasons why I have had meningitis so many times.”
Meningitis UK experts will be doing a thorough review of George’s medical history to try to ascertain why he has experienced multiple cases of meningitis.
A Meningitis UK-commissioned survey reveals that 27% of people in Yorkshire and Humberside trust GPs implicitly compared to just five per cent for bankers and three per cent for politicians, estate agents and journalists.
The charity wants people to have the confidence to trust their instincts if they suspect meningitis and to keep pushing at the doctor’s surgery if they still suspect the disease.
The classic signs of meningitis are a headache, stiff neck and dislike of bright lights.
Other symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, and confusion and drowsiness.
Symptoms typical of septicaemia which can also occur are cold hands and feet, leg pain and abnormal skin colour.
Dewsbury MP, Simon Reevell said: “Students are one group which is particularly susceptible to meningitis. I am very conscious that there are lots of people living in the area who go away to study and that there are also many who come to live at Storthes Hall in the campus village as well as those studying in Dewsbury and just down the road in Leeds, Bradford and York.”