University of Nottingham researchers have been involved in a new study showing that exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as a mother’s smoking while pregnant, significantly increases the risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children.
Researchers Dr Rachael Murray and Dr Jo Leonardi-Bee from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University reviewed the results from 18 previous studies to examine the link between passive smoking and the risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children.
Several of the studies reviewed suggest that exposure to second-hand smoke may be involved in meningococcal disease. The results showed that being exposed to second-hand smoke doubled the risk of invasive meningococcal disease. For children under five this risk was even higher, and for children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy the risk increased to three times higher.
Dr Murray explained: “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.
“While we cannot be sure exactly how tobacco smoke is affecting these children, the findings from this study highlight consistent evidence of the further harms of smoking around children and during pregnancy, and thus parents and family members should be encouraged to not smoke in the home or around children.”
Invasive meningococcal disease is a major cause of bacterial meningitis and can also cause severe illness when bacteria invade the blood, lungs or joints. Meningococcal disease is particularly prevalent in children and young adults, and nearly 1 in 20 affected individuals will die despite medical attention. One in 6 will be left with a severe disability, including neurological and behavioural disorders.
This study, Second hand smoke exposure and the risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children: systematic review and meta-analysis by Dr Rachael Murray, Professor John Britton and Dr Jo Leonardi-Bee has been published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Public Health.
— Ends —
For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news