An Inverkeithing mum is urging others to take up the new meningitis vaccination after she nearly lost her son to the disease.
Gemma Lessells, 31, had been campaigning for the life-saving injection to be rolled out since the terrifying moment in 2010 when her son Matthew went limp in her arms after becoming infected by deadly meningitis B.
Vaccination against various forms of meningitis is now being offered to babies, teenagers and first time university students.
Gemma said: “My son Matthew contracted meningitis B in 2010 when he was 13 months old. He was quiet and had a temperature at 4pm. He started being sick at 6pm and by 10pm he was in hospital fighting for his life.
“His heart rate was 210 and his temperature on admission was 40.9C.
“We were incredibly lucky. Matthew survived, though has delayed expressive speech and suffered night terrors following his hospital stay.
“We are also in the process of discussing possible behavioural side effects with his health visitor, but other than that we have a gorgeous healthy happy boy with a laugh that lights up a room.
“I know how devastating these diseases can be, so I would urge all who are eligible to make sure they get the vaccines.”
As a member of the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), Gemma is highlighting the vaccine at the start of Meningitis Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.
Meningitis kills one in 10 of those infected, and leaves a third of survivors with life altering after effects such as severe as deafness, brain damage and loss of limbs.
Babies, children under five and young adults are most at risk.
Introduced this month, the Men B vaccine is now included in the routine programme of inoculations given to babies.
It follows the start of a recent vaccination programme, covering strains ACWY, for 14 to 18-year-old school- children and 19 to 25-year-olds starting university for the first time.
Mary Millar, MRF’s Scotland manager, said: “We are delighted with the introduction of these new vaccines which we hope will further reduce the number of cases in the UK.
“However, there are still some forms of the disease which are not covered by these vaccines so it is vital that people are still aware of the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.”