Meningitis W is a strain of meningitis with a higher than average death rate and it has been on the rise since 2009.
According to Public Health England, there has been a 400% increase in the number of cases of MenW.
It is important to keep your child vaccinated against harmful diseases and the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that children between 14 and 18 are vaccinated against this type of meningitis.
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of meningitis can include:
- A high fever
- A stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
Another indicator of meningitis can be a red blotchy rash. If you press a glass on the skin where the rash is and it doesn’t fade, seek immediate medical help. 
Meningitis can cause septicaemia (blood poisoning) which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
The treatment for bacterial meningitis is usually intravenous antibiotics in an intensive care unit, and if treated early enough, recovery usually takes around two weeks.
The bacteria that causes meningitis can be transmitted through close and prolonged contact with a carrier.
Another form of meningitis is viral, which is more common than the bacterial form and can be less serious. It usually does not involve a hospital stay but can do so if the symptoms are severe enough.
Dr Andrew Raffles, a paediatrician at The Portland Hospital, explains how important it is to vaccinate your child:
‘Vaccination is the best way we have to prevent the spread of infectious disease.’
‘Today, vaccines are regarded as very safe and very important for your child's health.’
He adds: ‘Around 3,400 people get bacterial meningitis and associated blood-poisoning-or-septicaemia each year in the UK.’
A meningitis C vaccination is part of the childhood vaccination programme and a booster jab is now given to teenagers.
This vaccination programme has reduced the number of cases of this meningitis by 95%. 
It was announced recently that the meningitis B vaccine will also be added to the childhood vaccination programme. 
The meningitis W vaccine is available, but usually it is only given to high risk groups such as those who travel or have underlying health problems.
It isn’t currently part of the UK’s vaccination programme but the advice from JCVI states that 14-18 year olds should be vaccinated against meningitis W.
The meningitis W vaccine will be available at The Portland Hospital this summer for 14-18 year olds.
If your child experiences any of the symptoms listed, seek emergency medical help.