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Teenage hurlers hit by meningitis

Denise McNamara



Two minor hurlers from the Oranmore area were hospitalised with a suspected meningitis infection.

Two of the teenagers – who were recently crowned minor B county champions – were diagnosed with meningitis last week.

In a post on the Facebook Page of the Oranmore Maree GAA Club, the management outlined that due to the fast actions of their parents, both boys will fully recover.

“They will be alright, both are still in University Hospital Galway and we thank the staff at the hospital for the wonderful care they are receiving,” according to a post on the Facebook Page of the Oranmore Maree GAA Club.

“We urge everyone and in particular parents to monitor and be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and to not hesitate seeking professional medical advice as meningitis can be fatal if not caught in time. Speedy recovery to the lads.”

One of the hurlers was the captain of the victorious team, Sean Bannon, who just a week before lifted the minor cup for his hometown after beating Killimordaly in a replay, the first time in 30 years that it had been claimed in Maree/Oranmore.

His brother Alan told Galway Bay FM that Sean came down with a ferocious headache and was laid up in bed.

Eight hours later, the headache was getting worse instead of better, and his mother Anne decided to take him to Westdoc, who immediately referred him to the emergency department at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

He didn’t show any of the tell-tale signs, he had no rash, no stiffness in the neck and he had no sensitivity to lights. They caught it in time,” Alan recalled.

Once a lumbar puncture and other tests confirmed the presence of viral meningitis, he was immediately put on a drip and an aggressive regime of antibiotics.

Word of his illness spread so that when another team mate came down with similar symptoms, his parents rushed him to casualty where he was immediately diagnosed with the same thing and put on a drip.

In July a 23-year-old Derry footballer passed away from meningitis. Alan said they were grateful both boys were caught early.

“Hours and minutes make all the difference,” he reflected.

Following the outbreak, other members of the team reported feeling similar symptoms but so far no other cases have been confirmed, according to a spokesman for the Health Service Executive (HSE).

“The Public Health Department did have reports about a few kids complaining of headaches but they were not diagnosed with meningitis,” he said.

Meningitis is where a viral or bacterial infection causes inflammation of the lining around the spinal cord and the brain.

Meningitis is usually viral or bacterial. Viral meningitis is a serious illness, but doesn’t usually end in fatality and most people make a full recovery. Bacterial has a higher incidence of fatality and has many strains, caused by many different bacteria. Most of the cases in Ireland are caused by meningococcal disease.

Siobhán Carroll, of the support group Act for Meningitis, said it was most unusual for an outbreak to claim two victims in the one area. She had also heard there were a number of other cases in the Oranmore area but tests had not confirmed the presence of the virus.

“It would be extremely rare to have that many cases a few days apart. We only hear from families dealing with their own cases who are calling for support – never about this many,” she explained.

Meningitis is the biggest killer of children under five in Ireland. One in ten people who contract meningitis will die, one in five will be left with severe after affects.

“There is a higher risk of meningitis during the winter months. As people spend a lot more time indoors and with close contact, germs are spread more easily. Also, coming down with a ‘cold’ or the ‘flu’, may weaken the immune system making you more susceptible to the disease.”

The symptoms may be difficult to spot as many of the early symptoms can be similar to those of the ‘flu’. The charity urges people trust their instincts and if they suspect meningitis, seek medical help immediately.

The signs of Meningitis can include vomiting, fever, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, severe muscle pain, confusion.

In babies among the symptoms are being irritable, refusing to feed, high pitched crying, rapid breathing and cold hands and feet and a bulging soft spot on head.

Children up to age five are the most at-risk age group, young people aged 16-24 are the second highest at-risk group but anyone of any age can contract meningitis.

Meningitis does not always produce a rash but if it does appear it will not fade under pressure, even if a drinking glass is applied over it, which is known as the tumbler test.

“Time is of the utmost importance. Meningitis can strike so quickly and can kill within hours,” warned Siobhán.

ACT for Meningitis provide a wide range of free support service to those affected, and currently support families and individuals in 15 counties.


Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island




Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.

A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.

Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.

It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.

Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash

Enda Cunningham



A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.

At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.

The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Salthill Garda Station (091) 514 720 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.

Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.

It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.

In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”

It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.

“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.

“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”

Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.

The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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