Babies across the region are now being offered vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis & septicaemia for the first time in the UK. All children born after May 1st are being offered jabs for the B strain of the illness as part of routine injections available on the NHS.
It's the start of Meningitis Awareness Week, and today mothers and their children at the National Childbirth Trust's Mums and Bumps group in Stafford gave their reaction to being able to have the vaccinations for free.
But one mum is advising parents to look out for the symptoms after her 1- year-old caught one of the rarest strains of the illness, which led to his leg and fingers being amputated. Chris Halpin reports.
A schoolboy from Staffordshire died of meningitis after a hospital treated him with paracetamol tablets, an inquest in Cardiff heard.
An everyday painkiller was given to Thomas Smith after he visited Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil on his 13th birthday complaining of a headache and a stiff neck.
Cardiff Coroners Court heard that it was four hours before doctors gave him antibiotics to treat meningitis symptoms - but he then went into "respiratory arrest" and started to turn blue.
Thomas later died at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Doctor Kwong-Tou Yip said: "With hindsight I should have started him on antibiotics a lot sooner."
"If you start antibiotics sooner there's a possibility of recovery or less neurological damage."
Thomas had travelled from the family home in Hednesford, near Cannock, Staffordshire, for the family break in South Wales.
Thomas' parents took him to an out of hours GP who referred him to hospital after his headache failed to go away after three days.
The doctors first suspected he may have had a brain tumour and he was given paracetamol while further tests were carried out.
It was only when a senior paediatrician arrived four hours after Thomas had been admitted that meningitis was diagnosed.
The case was adjourned until the New Year for further expert medical evidence to be gathered.
A young girl who lost her limbs to meningitis is walking around her school later to raise money for charity.
Ellie-Mae Millor had both her legs and an arm amputated while she was a baby.
The seven-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent has learned to walk using special 'rocking' legs.
A boy from Walsall who contracted a severe form of meningitis is the face of a national campaign for the introduction of a newly-licensed vaccine to combat the disease.
Tommy Brown had to have limbs amputated when he fell ill with Meningitis B which spread rapidly through his body. The Meninigitis Trust say if brought in by the government, the vaccine could save hundreds of lives. Our correspondent Alison Mackenzie reports.
Parents from Walsall are calling on the NHS for Meningitis B vaccines for children after their son contracted the infection.Read the full story ›
The founder of Meningitis UK, Steve Dayman, said burdens of the disease need to be taken into account when decisions are made about the Meningitis B vaccine.
Steve lost his 14-month-old son Spencer to meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in 1982.
He said children like Tommy Brown, who was left severely disabled after contracting Meningitis B, will need "life long support".
He told Daybreak: "We feel it's not just the cost of rolling out the vaccine, we have to consider the burden of the disease as well."
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will meet next month to discuss the cost-effectiveness and safety of the Meningitis B vaccine.
NHS officials said there is "no guarantee that the JCVI will rubber-stamp a positive decision" because the drug is expensive.
The experts are expected to make one of three decisions:
- To include the jab in the routine NHS vaccination schedule
- To provide the vaccine on the NHS to high risk groups
- For the vaccine to only be available to parents who wish to pay for it
Parents of a disabled toddler are calling on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to give the green light to the Bexsero vaccine.
We strongly support the campaign as we don't want anyone else to go through what we have - it still impacts on us now and will for life.
It's a horrendous disease that kills or leaves people like our Tommy with awful after-effects.
It's simple - there should be no question - the Government needs to act and put this great vaccine on the NHS immediately. It will save so many lives and stop others from suffering like Tommy, so everyone should rally behind Beat it Now.
It can't help Tommy but it could help other kids.
We tell him he is our brave small soldier returning from war - injuries and all. It makes me cry to see him alert and looking about - then looking at where his hands and legs used to be, as if he is wondering where they are.
It was so painful to see him suffer and go through the operations, but he is remarkable and is superb at adapting - we're lucky to still have our beautiful boy.
The parents of a toddler who was left severely disabled after contracting Meningitis B are calling for a new jab to protect children against the potentially fatal disease.
Julie Tuckley, 37, said no children should have to go through what her son Tommy Brown did.
Tommy was struck down with the infection when he was five months old, and doctors said that he had just a 5% chance of survival.
But after a life saving operation, during which he had both of his legs, his right hand and left-hand fingers amputated, the 19-month-old survived.
Tommy's parents said that the "lifesaving" vaccine, which was approved for use by European health chiefs in January, should become routinely available on the NHS.
A post-mortem examination is to be held to establish the cause of death of a Lincolnshire student in which meningitis may have been a factor.
Craig White, 21, from Boston, was in his third year of a journalism degree at the University of Lincoln when he died on Wednesday.
It is believed doctors told his family that meningitis may have been a factor in his death.
A post-mortem examination is to be carried out on Monday.