Parents and health professionals are being advised that the "classic" signs of meningitis aren't the only ones to look out for.

Typically, a severe headache and pale complexion, along with cold hands and feet are the symptoms to look out for, with the classic rash being one of the last signs of this potentially fatal disease.

However a report in the British Journal of Medical Practice says that parents and doctors should also check for leg pains, general confusion, a stiff neck and sensitivity to light.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord and can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. An estimated one in 10 patients infected with meningitis die.

Sue Davie, chief executive of the Meningitis Trust, said: "Anything that helps early diagnosis is a good thing.

"Everyone gets hung up on the rash and that can be deadly. Parents need to be vigilant against them all."

Posted by Penny Hosie on 2.3.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com

 Meningitis story