MENINGITIS experts have offered reassurance to parents in Wirral after a 15-year-old schoolgirl was killed by the disease.
Birkenhead High School Academy student Daisy Metcalfe died after contracting the bacterial infection pneumococcal meningitis which causes inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.
Daisy, from Wallasey, a much-loved pupil with a flair for music, died surrounded by family in hospital last Friday.
Parents and staff at the Wirral school have received information from The Health Protection Agency (HPA) which stressed that pneumococcal meningitis is not infectious and there is no reason to keep children off school.
It comes as its own statistics show that across Merseyside and Cheshire in 2012 only 21 pneumococcal meningitis cases were reported.
Of all cases reported, the HPA say just 10% prove to be fatal.
The Meningitis Trust charity said that the latest figures, which relate to 2010, there were only eight reported cases of pneumococcal meningitis among 10-24 year olds, with the average death rate being 15%.
Its chief executive Sue Davie said: “Everyone at the Meningitis Trust is saddened to hear of Daisy’s death.
“Our thoughts and sympathy are with her family and friends at this time.
“Although the risk of a second case is low, we are urging everyone in the area to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
“If anyone is concerned about their own, or someone else’s health, please get in touch.”
Symptoms to look out for – and the charity’s support services – can be found at www.meningitis-trust.org and the charity also runs a free nurse-led helpline on 0808 80 10 388.
Talented musician Daisy could effortlessly switch between trumpet, tenor and French horn.
Recent contributions included performing a fanfare at a prize-giving event at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and a poignant rendition of the Last Post for pupils in the build up to Remembrance Sunday.
A book of condolences has been opened and the school will discuss with Daisy’s family the prospect of a lasting tribute.
“Daisy was simply a delight,” said headteacher Christine Mann.