Keighley parents, students and teachers are being warned to be vigilant for signs of meningitis.

The start of autumn and the new academic year, when people are spending increased time indoors and germs are more easily spread, traditionally sees a surge in cases of the illness.

Those at greatest risk of contracting meningitis are children under five, with 15-to-23-year-olds the next most susceptible.

Sue Davie, for the Meningitis Trust, said: “Meningitis can be a difficult disease to spot, particularly at this time of year, as many of its early symptoms can be similar to those of flu. We urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the symptoms, trust their instincts and get urgent medical help if concerned.

“Doing this could save your life or that of a loved one.”

Every year around 3,400 cases of bacterial meningitis are reported in the UK. Ten per cent prove fatal and 15 per cent of those who survive are left with severe after-effects such as brain damage, loss of hearing and sight or - where septicaemia has occurred - loss of limbs and scarring.

Symptoms of meningitis can include fever with cold hands and feet, vomiting, a headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright light, joint or muscle pain, pale blotchy skin, drowsiness and confusion. In babies signs can include a dislike of being handled, an unusual cry, rapid breathing and bulging fontanelle.

Both adults and children may also have a rash that does not fade under pressure.

A free signs and symptoms app for an iPhone or Android can be downloaded from

The trust also produces a free credit-card-sized symptoms card. To obtain one, phone the 24-hour helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or visit