THIS WEEK IN 1996: Mother’s plea - ‘be aware’ of meningitis

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The distraught mother of a Portsmouth student nearly killed by meningitis made an impassioned plea to others to be aware of the signs.

Chantel Webb, 21, could have died if she had not been at home with her parents, her mother, Jan Webb, said.

The family had been keeping a vigil at Chantel’s bedside in the Royal Bournemouth Hospital as she recovered from the potentially fatal bacterial meningitis.

Mrs Webb said the third-year sociology student had turned the corner after 24 hours in intensive care, but she was expected to stay in hospital for up to a fortnight.

Mrs Webb said: ‘Chantel lives in digs in Southsea. She could have gone there and felt unwell. She went into a coma and if nobody had been in the house it could have been a different story.

‘Kids should know the procedure. I want everybody to be so aware of how quickly it can strike,’ she added.

She urged friends of anyone complaining of flu-type symptoms to make sure they saw a doctor quickly.

The University of Portsmouth issued 2,000 leaflets to students giving advice on meningitis and its symptoms but decided against a mass vaccination programme.