Parents are being urged to be vigilant for the signs of meningitis as their children return to school – even if their youngsters have been vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Meningitis UK says the close confines of the classroom provide the perfect breeding ground for germs.
The disease kills more under-fives than any other infectious disease, and pupils and teenagers are also more vulnerable.
Parents should watch their children for symptoms such as a headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright light, a difficulty supporting bodyweight, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and drowsiness. The disease can kill in under four hours.