Charity Meningitis Now has warned parents not to be complacent about the disease even though data released by Public Health England shows cases are at their lowest since records began.

Between April to June numbers dropped by 76 per cent, to 29 compared with 121 for the same period in 2019.

But chief executive Dr Tom Nutt,said: “Whilst these numbers are good to see, we have some real concerns about people becoming complacent. The disease has not gone away, and it is still a real and present threat, particularly MenB, which is most prevalent amongst those who are most at risk, babies, teenagers, and older adults. Of greatest concern at this time is a potential increase in cases among young people who have just gone to university.

“With reported cases of Covid-19 rising significantly on campuses across the UK, it is very likely that there will be an increase in cases of meningitis amongst students. Whilst we would normally see an increase in cases at this time of year, the Covid dimension and the advice to self-isolate could be disastrous if the illness is due to meningitis, which can take a life in as little as 24 hours.

He said: “Our advice, particularly those who are at risk, is to know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and if you have concerns about yourself, a loved one or a friend call 111 immediately and get medical help.”