Worrying rise in cases of meningitis -young people urged to get jab

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Young people are being urged to get themselves vaccinated against a potentially-lethal strain of meningitis.

Fears have been raised that the uptake of jabs against meningococcal group W meningitis (MenW) is way below the national average in the Wakefield district.

Government figures show just 6.4 per cent of 17 and 18-year-olds in the district have been vaccinated, compared to an average of 17.4 per cent for the rest of England.

Young people, including students at university for the fist time, are urged to get vaccinated after cases of MenW rose by more than 800 per cent in the past five years.

Last month a first year student at Northumbria University died of the MenW bug.

Jabs are available from schools and GP practices.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said: “There has been a worrying rise in the number of meningitis cases recently, and young people are especially at risk.

“I strongly encourage mums, dads and carers to make sure our young people get protected from this dangerous disease.”

Liz Brown, chief executive of charity Meningitis Now, said: “Young people, especially those attending university for the first time should, if they haven’t done so already, take immediate action to protect themselves from this dangerous meningitis bug.

“The vaccination is free and available through GP practices for 17-18 year olds, and first year university students, up to the age of 25.”