Sneaky Killer

An 18-year-old who was mistakenly reported to have died from a drug overdose in fact died from meningococcal meningitis.

DOCTORS may be missing the symptoms of a deadly strain of meningitis in young people. A letter from public health experts has warned that teenagers who have the disease could be mistaken for being drunk or high. This 18-year-old developed a headache, cold hands and feet, stomach ache and vomiting over a period of two days.

The condition can mimic other illnesses, such as flu, food poisoning, drug misuse or alcohol intoxication, so the diagnosis of meningococcal disease may not be considered by doctors.

Vinny Smith, chief executive at Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) said: “It’s a tragedy for a young person to die from a disease if rapid diagnosis and treatment could have offered a chance of survival.”

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