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Mother's drag can treble meningitis odds for kids

Posted on Dec 11, 07:20AM | IANS

Pregnant women who puff can treble their baby's chance of developing meningitis, and children exposed to parental smoking are twice as vulnerable to the deadly illness, according to a British research.

Every year around 2,500 people develop meningitis in Britain, although it is most common in children under five years. It kills one in 20 and disables one in six. Meningitis is caused by an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Rachael Murray, from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham, who led the study, said: "We estimate that an extra 630 cases of childhood invasive meningococcal disease every year are directly attributable to second-hand smoke in the UK alone."

Meanwhile, the latest National Health Service figures show that 13 percent of women who give birth are smokers - or 95,000 new mothers in Britain a year.

University of Nottingham researchers analysed 18 studies which looked at the link between passive smoking and meningitis, according to the Daily Mail.

They found that children exposed to second hand smoke in the home were more than twice as likely to get the illness. The under-fives were even more vulnerable. They were found to be two and a half times more at risk.