A common misconception with meningitis is that it’s something that only affects babies.

It’s not unusual for people to think this is the case.  Before researching this project, I was of the same opinion.

The question is, why? Why do people not realise this is something that can affect anyone, of any age group, gender or race?

In a ongoing survey conducted through my social media on Facebook and Twitter, 11 out of 84 people didn’t realise that meningitis could affect anyone, with 9 believing that only babies or infants could get the disease.

It is true that babies and young adults are at a greater risk of contracting meningitis, but that does not mean that someone not in one of these ‘at risk’ groups is immune to it.

One suggestion for why so many people think only babies can contract meningitis is the representation of the disease in the media.

Often, if a storyline runs on a programme such as Casualty, or Holby City, it’ll normally be a child involved because of the greater impact that this would have on an audience.

Or if meningitis is covered on the news as part of the annual awareness weeks, or World Meningitis Day, then the imaging used is likely to be that of babies or young children.

Melanie Corney, survived meningitis in 2001, when she was 26. Melanie was confused originally by the diagnosis, as she too, was of the same opinion that it was only infants that could suffer from this disease.  This is what she had to say on the matter:

 

Featured image credit: PATH Global Health

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