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Meningitis claims life of talented Wirral teenager
A TALENTED Wirral teenager has lost her fight with meningitis.
Fifteen-year-old Daisy Metcalfe, from Wallasey, died from the virus last Friday in hospital.
Following her tragic death Birkenhead High School Academy, where she was a pupil, paid tribute to her "confidence" and "wonderful" personality.
And health officials have moved to reassure parents at Birkenhead High School that it is safe for their children to attend.
They say that as pneumococcal meningitis is not infectious, no further action is needed.
Headteacher Christine Mann said: "It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the death of Daisy Metcalfe.
"Daisy was a kind and conscientious person who would always put the interests of others before her own - a quiet, gentle girl who never made a fuss about anything.
"Daisy was a gifted young musician, able to switch between trumpet, tenor and French horn, playing with the wind band, orchestra, the inter-schools brass ensemble and the rock-band project."
The school has held a special assembly in which a minute's silence was conducted in Daisy's memory and support is being offered to grieving staff and pupils.
Mrs Mann added: "Daisy was an immensely talented individual who approached all aspects of her life with a confidence and determination beyond her years, and with a wonderful sense of humour.
"Daisy was quite simply a joy to know and was much loved by everyone who knew her. She will be deeply missed."
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is warning people to look out for the signs and symptoms of meningitis.
Dr Nicola Schinaia, a consultant with the HPA's Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Unit, said: "This is desperately sad and our hearts go out to the girl’s family. Pneumococcal infection is comparatively rare and meningitis caused by the pneumococcal bacteria is extremely rare.
"However, everyone should be aware of the symptoms to look out for and of the need to take urgent action whenever a case is suspected.
"The best way for parents to protect their children is to make sure they are up to date with their immunisations. The routine childhood immunisation programme includes a pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) that protects against the more common strains of this illness."
Pneumococcal meningitis can affect any age group, but those at most risk are babies and young children under 18 months of age.
The elderly and people with conditions that affect the immune system are also at increased risk. As with all types of meningitis, the onset of illness is often sudden.
Pneumococcal bacteria may cause sinusitis, middle ear infections, pneumonia, bacteraemia (a serious infection of the blood, also known as septicaemia) and meningitis.
Symptoms are also similar to those of the more common meningococcal meningitis, including sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash that does not fade when pressed with glass.
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