I WAS saddened to read that Tadcaster teenager Lauren Ansell is now profoundly deaf and suffers communication problems after battling bacterial meningitis as a baby (The Press, November 16).

It was touching to read that Lauren, 14, is coping with the after-effects and is a highly sociable schoolgirl.

Tragically, there are times when meningitis is misdiagnosed and symptoms are not spotted or not present.

Meningitis can strike with incredible speed and the symptoms are notoriously difficult to detect, often being confused with flu. For these reasons, we believe preventative measures are the best solution.

Our sole focus is to fund the development of vaccines and other methods of preventing this dreaded disease. In the absence of a vaccine, we distribute a range of materials to raise awareness of the common symptoms and need to act quickly, which can mean the difference between life and death.

If any of readers would like a free symptoms information pack, including wallet-sized symptoms cards, or for more on supporting our Search 4 A Vaccine Campaign, they can phone Meningitis UK on 0117 947 6320 or visit meningitisUK.org

Kate Rowland, Chief executive, Meningitis UK.