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Editor's PicksHealthAfter 30 operations and two months in hospital this student wants to protect YOU

After 30 operations and two months in hospital this student wants to protect YOU

Sophie Royce, 23, was infected with meningococcal W in 2013, leading to her losing the ends of her toes and fingers.

Just 21 at the time, she underwent 30 operations and spent eight-and-a-half weeks in hospital.

Despite the best efforts of doctors, the disease and subsequent sepsis she suffered cost Sophie the tips of her fingers and toes.

Sophie Royce shows the fingertips she lost to the brain bug Meningococcal W. See SWNS story SWDISEASE: A warning was issued over a deadly strain of meningitis - which has seen an 88 per cent rise in cases in the last year. Meningococcal W - known as 'MenW' - was first identified in Brazil in 2005 but has become increasingly prevalent in the UK. It is the deadliest form of meningococcal disease with the highest death rate but can be treated in intensive care if caught early enough. New figures reveal that between July 2013 and June 2014 just 98 cases were reported in the England and Wales - but in the same period last year this had soared by 88 per cent to 184.

Sophie shows the fingertips she lost t

Two years on, Sophie, from Reigate, London, is calling for young people to get vaccinated and protect themselves.

London South Bank University student Sophie said: “Before I became ill. I was aware of meningitis, but thought it only affect babies and young children.

“I quickly found out that that is one of the biggest meningitis myths.

“‘Meningitis is such a vicious and nasty disease, hopefully we will now see a downward trend in the number of type W cases, particularly in teenagers.

“I will be telling everyone at uni who hasn’t had their ACWY vaccine to make sure they get it ASAP.

“If it prevents just one case like mine it will be worth it.”

On July 28, 2013 Sophie was rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning, suffering suspected meningitis.

She explained: “I was deteriorating extremely quickly, she said.

“I remember an influx of people around my bed as they struggled to get an IV, fluids and vitals.

“I was then taken to the ICU where a team of amazing doctors and nurses worked on me trying to keep me stable.”

Sophie Royce shows the toes she lost to the brain bug Meningococcal W. See SWNS story SWDISEASE: A warning was issued over a deadly strain of meningitis - which has seen an 88 per cent rise in cases in the last year. Meningococcal W - known as 'MenW' - was first identified in Brazil in 2005 but has become increasingly prevalent in the UK. It is the deadliest form of meningococcal disease with the highest death rate but can be treated in intensive care if caught early enough. New figures reveal that between July 2013 and June 2014 just 98 cases were reported in the England and Wales - but in the same period last year this had soared by 88 per cent to 184.

Sophie lost her toes

“Antibiotics were pushed but I started to bottom out, my blood pressure and pulse started to fall dramatically.

“I was, by this time, purple from head to toe.”

Her heart soon gave out as the sepsis took over, and eventually, she suffered total organ failure.

Sophie was transferred from her local hospital in Surrey to St Thomas’ in central London, transferred on a blue light.

After days in ICU, Sophie finally came round to discover she had contracted a rare strain of meningitis, meningococcal septicaemia W135.

“The sepsis had caused gangrene to my extremities and I was facing hard decisions about amputation and kidney transplantation,” she recalled.

“Two years on and there is not an hour that goes by when we do not think of my incredible medical team. They are my real life heroes.”

Sophie Royce in hospital being treated for the brain bug Meningococcal W. See SWNS story SWDISEASE: A warning was issued over a deadly strain of meningitis - which has seen an 88 per cent rise in cases in the last year. Meningococcal W - known as 'MenW' - was first identified in Brazil in 2005 but has become increasingly prevalent in the UK. It is the deadliest form of meningococcal disease with the highest death rate but can be treated in intensive care if caught early enough. New figures reveal that between July 2013 and June 2014 just 98 cases were reported in the England and Wales - but in the same period last year this had soared by 88 per cent to 184.

Sophie in hospital

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