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Meningitis petition reaches nearly 700,000 signatures

Faye Burdett, who died from meningitis Credit: Family photo

Pressure is building on the Government to give the meningitis B vaccine to all children aged under 11 as the number of signatories to a petition approaches 700,000 - making it the most popular petition since their introduction.

Huge support for the campaign comes after several high-profile cases involving the devastating virus, that can kill its victims or leave them in need of life-changing amputations.

Pictures of two-year-old Faye Burdett, from Maidstone, Kent, who died from the virus on Valentine's Day, prompted a surge in support for the cause and the petition received a further boost when England rugby hero Matt Dawson revealed his two-year-old son, Sam, was recovering after contracting meningitis C.

Any petition that receives over 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate in Parliament.



Brighton schoolboy dies of meningitis

A schoolboy from the Brighton area died this week after he contracted meningitis, health officials said.

A Public Health England (PHE) spokeswoman said letters have been sent to parents at the boy's school and only those who had come into immediate contact with the child would be at risk of contracting the illness.

Public Health England can confirm that a child from the Brighton area has sadly died of presumed meningococcal septicaemia. This is seldom transmitted from person to person.

Only close household contacts need antibiotics as a precaution against an extremely low risk of the contacts transmitting the disease to anyone else. The child's immediate household contacts have received these. Nobody else needs to receive antibiotics.

Our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time.

– A Public Health England spokeswoman

Meningitis B vaccine to be rolled out by September

The meningitis B vaccine looks set to become part of the national immunisation programme by September this year after the government reached a deal with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline to provide all babies in the UK with the potentially life-saving injection.

ITV News Reporter Duncan Golestani spoke to one family who have been affected by meningitis about why the vaccine is important:

Hunt: Deal means we can roll out meningitis B vaccine

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that a new deal with GlaxoSmithkline means that a meningitis B vaccine can be rolled out this year.

This is one of the biggest worries for any parent who has a baby or a young child - particularly as it affects five or six months olds.

Which is why I am delighted that we have now just secured agreement with GlaxoSmithkline, the company that manufactures the meningitis B vaccine.

We had a stand off for the best part of a year with the company that used to own this vaccine. Since GSK came on board they have reduced the price.

That means that we can now go ahead this year with rolling out the meningitis B vaccine.

I think that is something that families across the country would really welcome.

– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
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