A brand new weapon in the battle against killer disease, meningitis, is being deployed by bereaved mum and former Scotswoman of the year Eileen McKiernan and her colleagues at the Meningitis Association of Scotland.
But the device in question is not a drug or an injection - rather a bright, cheerful children's book entitled 'George has Meningitis'.
Eileen explained: "The idea is to outline the symptoms of the disease in a way that is easily understood by both parents and children. The book is designed to be read by mums and dads to their children, getting the message across in a non-threatening and even enjoyable way."
Eileen lost her only son Lee to the disease over a decade ago and ever since has dedicated herself to raising awareness about the condition and raising funds to support research. That paid off two years ago when scientists sponsored by the Scottish charity developed a vaccine for one strain of the illness.
In the book, to be launched by Glasgow Lord Provost Liz Cameron on Wednesday January 28, George, a nine month-old gorilla, shows signs of the illness * refusing his mashed banana and crying in a high-pitched whine. He develops a fever and a rash which doesn't dissipate when a tumbler is pressed against it. Like all good children's books this one has a happy ending. George is visited by Doctor Spot who realises what's wrong and packs George off to hospital for some emergency antibiotic treatment.
All the medical data has been checked and approved by doctors at the Yorkhill Sick Children's Hospital in Glasgow.
Further Information from Eileen McKiernan, Meningitis Association of Scotland, on 0141 226 5898.
Where: Ottakar's Books, Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow
When: 10am, Wednesday January 28th 2004
Who: Lord Provost Liz Cameron will be joined by Eileen McKiernan, medical experts from Yorkhill Sick Children's hospital and meningitis survivors.
You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew to cover the launch.
Distributed by the Catholic Media Office on behalf of the Meningitis Association of Scotland.
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