Be aware of killer meningitis bug warns Milngavie mum

Kim Mackay with her ten week old baby Mark who had a close shave with meningitis last month and Scott age 4 and Lucy age 2'Photo Emma Mitchell'21/7/11
Kim Mackay with her ten week old baby Mark who had a close shave with meningitis last month and Scott age 4 and Lucy age 2'Photo Emma Mitchell'21/7/11

THE mum of a baby who made a miraculous recovery after contracting a deadly form of meningitis is urging parents to look out for warning signs of the killer illness.

Kim Mackay’s son, Mark, was only six weeks old when he became unwell, but she didn’t suspect he had meningitis as he didn’t have any of the classic symptoms, including a rash.

Kim, from Milngavie, said: “It was a Saturday afternoon and he was a bit sleepier than usual. I knew there was something wrong when he didn’t want to feed and that’s not like him. He was also quite warm - when I took his temperature it was 38 C.

“And he was grunting a little bit in his sleep, but everything else seemed normal.”

Kim (33) phoned NHS 24 and a nurse sent an ambulance to take Mark to Yorkhill Children’s Hospital due to his breathing difficulties.

When the ambulance arrived Mark’s skin was mottled, but he still didn’t have a rash.

He had also developed a trance like stare with his mouth in an ‘O’ shape - Kim later learned that this was a sign of meningitis.

Kim’s husband, Andrew (32), followed the ambulance in his car and when they arrived at Yorkhill - only half an hour after Kim’s initial call to NHS 24 - Mark’s temperature had reached 39.6 C and his heartbeat was dangerously fast.

His fontanelle (soft spot on a baby’s head) had swollen and the medical team suspected meningitis and gave him intravenous antibiotics. They also carried out x-rays and took blood samples and planned to do a lumber puncture as soon as he was well enough.

Mark was diagnosed with Group B Strep Bacterial Meningitis on the Monday. Two days later he suffered a seizure and was taken to intensive care for one night. He was in hospital for a two weeks.

Kim, who also has a four-year-old son, Scott, and two-year-old daughter, Lucy, said: “I’m just so glad that we got him to hospital so soon. If we hadn’t I dread to think what could have happened.

“If he had been a few weeks older I might have just given him Calpol and delayed phoning NHS 24.

“Time is so important with meningitis as it causes awful damage if it’s not treated fast.

“Mark was on a slippery slope when he arrived at Yorkhill - another few hours and he may not have made it.

“He was very lucky to make a full recovery. He’s a wee trooper and looking at him now I can’t believe he was fighting for his life just under a month ago.”

Kim, a primary school teacher, wants to raise awareness of this type of meningitis as sometimes mothers carry the bacteria during pregnancy and pass it on to their child during childbirth - but antibiotics can prevent this.

She added: “I don’t know if I carry Group B as mothers are not routinely tested in the UK. I would have done anything to prevent this happening and I’d urge other mums to get tested for this if they are worried.”