I WAS concerned to read your article (April 15) about how delays in treating 73-year-old meningitis victim Christine Saltmarshe have left her in a coma, with brain damage. An investigation is under way, as she told doctors the previous day that she though

I WAS concerned to read your article (April 15) about how delays in treating 73-year-old meningitis victim Christine Saltmarshe have left her in a coma, with brain damage. An investigation is under way, as she told doctors the previous day that she thought she had the brain bug because of a past experience.

Here at Meningitis UK we know only too well how devastating meningitis can be and how quickly it can take hold. Sadly, sometimes, even if the symptoms are recognised, prompt treatment sought and the best medical care is given, it is still not enough to save a life.

Meningitis is also often incredibly difficult to detect, as the symptoms are hard to distinguish from the common cold and flu, plus there are occasions when people show no or very few symptoms.

For all these reasons, we believe prevention is the only way truly to eradicate the disease and developing a preventative vaccine to protect against all forms of meningitis and its associated diseases is our sole focus at Meningitis UK.

Our Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign aims to raise £7million to fund life-saving research into eradicating Meningitis B - the most common form of meningitis in the UK for which there is currently no vaccine. The number 4 signifies the devastating fact that meningitis can kill in under four hours.

In the absence of a vaccine, we also distribute a wide range of material to raise awareness of the common symptoms and the need to act quickly, which can mean the difference between life and death.

If your readers would like a symptoms information pack, including wallet-sized symptoms cards, or to find out more about supporting our Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign, they can call Meningitis UK on 0117 373 7373 or visit www.meningitisUK.org

PHILIPPA WALKER

Meningitis UK