Meningitis UK

Meningitis UK

Meningitis UK is a national charity based in the United Kingdom. Its sole focus is on prevention and funding lifesaving research to eradicate all forms of meningitis.


History of Meningitis UK

Meningitis UK was originally called the Spencer Dayman Meningitis Laboratories in memory of founder and chief executive Steve Dayman's son, who died of meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in 1982, aged 14-months. It was established in 1999 to fund a £500,000 state-of-the-art dedicated meningitis research laboratory in the University of Bristol's School of Medical Sciences.

Once this project was completed, the charity decided to focus solely on funding research into a preventative vaccine for all forms of meningitis.

Research programme

The charity's research programme includes projects at leading institutions and universities across the UK. Funded projects range from studies of specific immunity-boosting proteins and potential vaccine candidates, to understanding the mutation of certain strains of meningococcal bacteria against existing vaccines.

Past breakthroughs

Since Dayman first got involved with the meningitis cause in 1982, significant breakthroughs have been made in combating the disease. These include the development of the Hib vaccine which was introduced into the Childhood Immunisation Programme in the UK in 1992, the meningitis C vaccine in 1999, and a vaccine to protect against pneumococcal meningitis in 2006. Since its introduction, the meningitis C vaccine has reduced cases of group C disease by over 90 per cent. Estimates show that in its first year, the pneumococcal vaccine prevented over 300 cases of serious childhood illness such as pneumococcal meningitis. In January 2010 the Department of Health announced it would be introducing a new vaccine to combat pneumococcal disease will be introduced in spring 2010.

Future challenges

Until recently there was no vaccine to protect against all forms of meningitis and associated diseases, including the most common form in the UK - meningococcal group B. However, it was announced in June 2011 that the first vaccine against meningitis B could become available in the UK within months.[1]

A vaccine with proven effectiveness against Meningitis B was developed in Cuba in the 1980s. Since then, 55 million doses have been administered in Cuba and other countries.

Awareness programme

In the absence of a vaccine to protect against all forms of the disease, Meningitis UK also runs a nationwide awareness programme to raise awareness of the common symptoms and need to act quickly.


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