NICE guidance for diagnosis and treatment of bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia aims to save lives by advising on how to recognise symptoms of the conditions and appropriate clinical care.
The advice emphasises the importance of GPs being aware of clinical features that can help identify children and young people presenting with possible bacterial meningitis.
Early identification is important as prompt referral to emergency departments is essential to initiate antibiotic treatment and prevent death, said NICE.
Dr Fergus Macbeth, director of the NICE Centre for Clinical Practice, said: 'Fortunately, bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia are rare. But because of how fast they can strike, often with no warning anything serious is amiss, they are perhaps the diseases most feared by parents.'