English Premier League Club Stoke City’s Robert Huth may struggle to make the start of the season after his club revealed he was being treated for suspected meningitis. Stoke's confirmation that Huth is being treated for suspected viral meningitis comes just over a month after Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge was treated for it. Huth joked on Twitter this morning that he was likely to be dropped from a few people's fantasy football teams and his recovery, if viral meningitis is confirmed could take time.
So what is viral meningitis? Most people will know about bacterial meningitis but viral is a more common form of the disease. It doesn't tend to be life-threatening but it can make people very ill.
Every year in the UK an estimated 5,000 people contract the disease. Although most people make a good recovery it can leave some with severe headaches, extreme tiredness, loss of hearing, depression and memory loss. Sturridge recovered well from his bout of viral meningitis, going on to play for Team GB in the Olympics but this isn't the case for everyone.
It is a bizarre coincidence for two footballers to be linked with the disease within weeks of each other. Unlike bacterial meningitis you can't 'catch' viral from someone else. Many different viruses can cause meningitis; the most common are a group, which live in the intestines and can commonly cause colds, sore throats and stomach upsets. Only rarely do these viruses spread through the body to the meninges (the layer which surrounds the brain - think of it like cling film between the brain and the skull) and cause meningitis. Most cases of viral meningitis cannot be prevented by vaccinations and can often be mistaken for more common illnesses like flu.
At the Meningitis Trust we support anyone affected by meningitis - everything from answering questions on our free 24-hour helpline to offering financial grants for anything from swimming lessons to sensory adaptive rooms. We also offer creative therapies, counselling and practical advice - we've been doing it for more than 25 years and we are here for families affected by meningitis for as long as they need us.
High profile cases, like Huth and Sturridge, throw the spotlight on meningitis and allow us to raise vital awareness. The bottom line is that knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis saves lives.
For more information on viral meningitis visit www.meningitis-trust.org. If you’ve been affected by viral meningitis we would love you to take part in our survey, visit http://www.pickersurveys.org/surveylogin.asp?k=133830083057 for more information
Jenni Silver is Website Co-ordinator for the Meningitis Trust, she also writes for www.twohundredpercent.net