The sore throat that turned into a battle with death: Cambridge University student developed meningitis W and spent three months in hospital, as officials warn cases are rocketing on campuses

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A promising student was left on the verge of death after being struck down with the virulent meningitis W, her family has revealed.

Shirali Patel, who had only just started her medicine degree at Cambridge University, was forced to restart the year because of her illness. 

Her symptoms began with a sore throat before quickly escalating. Miss Patel is now barely unable to remember her ordeal, which left her critically ill.

Miss Patel spent three months fighting for her life in hospital as doctors warned her family, from Harrow, to be ‘prepared for the worst’. 

Her horrific ordeal follows official figures which revealed cases of the deadly strain of meningitis have rocketed by 922 per cent in eight years.

Meningitis W, which can easily kill, has infected 225 people since July last year. In contrast, just 22 people were struck down in 2009/10. 

The figure is already the highest on record, the Public Health England data shows – despite there still being six months before the final amount is calculated.

Charities are also concerned that cases are only going to soar in the coming weeks, as winter is considered peak season for the deadly infection. 

766974625ad0b84b16f9b11b1866ec3f The sore throat that turned into a battle with death: Cambridge University student developed meningitis W and spent three months in hospital, as officials warn cases are rocketing on campuses

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