A HEREFORD woman is living with memory problems and tinitus after surviving a killer illness nearly ten years ago.

Lesley Hart was told she had meningitis and given just six hours to live, but now has to deal with worsening after affects.

Now 40, Ms Hart trusted her instincts a decade ago and contacted the health services as although she had her usual migraine symptoms, dislike of light, and nausea, things didn’t improve.

“Meningitis is an infection that I never thought I would get, it tried to do its worst but I beat it,” she said.

“I truly believe it was my instinct that kept me alive and to I got to hospital and the right person was in charge of my care.

“It is to be feared and it continues to get me down every now and then but then I remember how lucky I am to have survived and can tell my story.”

She is now calling for greater awareness about the disease during meningitis awareness week, as a survey revealed very few people know about the side affects.

“My after effects are wide and varied including a brain injury, short term memory problems.”

“I can struggle with holding information and I have tinnitus. I have nerve damage and I don’t feel hunger or thirst.

“I struggle to keep my feet warm. My skin grows funny on my feet and so have deep tissue dermatitis.”

The national survey of 2,000 adults found only a minority understand the possible long term consequences of meningitis.

The Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) survey found 66 per cent of people in the West Midlands know meningitis can kill, but just one in ten knew deafness is common afterwards.

A new report, by the MRF, has published the report after decline in vaccinations in babies under one year old.

Vinny Smith, chief executive of MRF, said: “While many are aware that meningitis costs lives, fewer people know about the damage the disease can do to people’s long term health and their future.

“The cost to people can be immense, and sadly some never fully recover, so the right support is essential.”