NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group was saddened to this week learn that a 10-year-old child from St Annes has died from suspected meningococcal infection.

The child’s immediate family has been offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure in line with national guidelines.

The child attended Clifton Primary School in St Annes and staff and parents have been informed of the situation and given information on meningococcal infection and its symptoms and reassurance that it is safe for their children to attend the school as normal.

Public Health England’s Mark McGivern, a consultant from Cumbria and Lancashire’s health protection team, said: “This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with the family. Meningococcal infection is comparatively rare, but everyone should be aware of the symptoms to look out for and if anyone becomes ill with symptoms of meningitis you should get urgent medical help right away.”

“Only people who have had prolonged, close contact with an ill person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell, which is why only the immediate family of the child have been offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

“There is no cause for alarm and it is safe for children and staff to continue to attend the school as normal.

“We do see an increase in cases of meningitis at this time of year, so it’s very important people are aware of the symptoms so they can act early and seek medical help.”

Meningococcal infection, which can cause meningitis (inflammation of the brain) or septicaemia (blood poisoning), is more common in the winter months.

The onset of illness is often sudden and treatment should be sought immediately if it is suspected.

Early symptoms, which may not always be present, include:

  • A rash that doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass
  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Severe and worsening headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Very cold hands and feet
  • Drowsiness that can deteriorate into a coma