What is meningitis? All you need to know about the deadly infection after it claimed the life of a national gymnast in Spain ‘in just 24 hours’

ALL you need to know about meningitis, the deadly infection which killed a Spanish national gymnast overnight. 

Maria Herranz Gomez was just 17-years-old when she was struck down by the deadly illness. 

Overnight between April 17 and 18, the Spanish national athlete succumbed to meningitis, a ‘very serious’ infection affecting the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. 

Most causes are caused by bacteria or viruses and are transferred person to person through coughing, sneezing and kissing. 

READ MORE: Sports tragedy in Spain: National gymnast, 17, dies within 24 hours of contracting meningitis – as tributes pour in for ‘sweet’ and ‘charming’ teenager

Meningitis took the life of Maria Herranz Gomez in just 24-hours.
Photo: Club Rudicamp Trampolin/Facebook

However, it may also be carried in the gut and vagina. 

While this normally helps to build immunity and is harmless but in some cases the illness can invade the body.

Although it can affect anyone, it is most common in babies, children, teens and young adults. 

It is recommended that these groups recieve vaccines to combat the illness.

READ MORE: ‘Fit and healthy’ British man, 23, dies from meningitis after ‘dream holiday’ to Spain’s Costa Blanca before saving three people’s lives as an organ donor

Vaccines can be given against meningitis.
Photo: Cordon Press

If not treated quickly, it can be ‘very serious’, with some cases of bacterial meningitis proving fatal within 24-hours. 

It can cause life-threatening sepsis and result in permanent brain and nerve damage. 

Other consequences of the illness are loss of limbs, hearing loss, seizures, loss of vision and speech issues.

Symptoms include a high temperature, being sick, headaches, rashes, seizures, photosensitivity, stiff neck and drowsiness. 

If you suspect you or someone else has meningitis, you must call emergency services.

According to NHS advice: “Trust your instincts and do not wait for all the symptoms to appear or until a rash develops. Someone with meningitis or sepsis can get a lot worse very quickly.”

READ MORE: West Nile virus transmitted by mosquitos revealed to be behind string of meningitis cases in Spain’s Sevilla

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