The Independent reports: A baby was left on the verge of death after contracting meningitis from a pet cat.

Sparkle Anderson was just three weeks old when she contracted the illness from the cat’s saliva.

She spent a month in hospital recovering from the disease, which was believed to have been transmitted when the pet, named Chesney, licked her bottle.

Her mother, Chelsea-Ann Dodd, 21, said: “The doctors said she was only the 39th person in the world known to picked up that particular strain of meningitis.”

According to charity Meningitis Now, 10 per cent of bacterial meningitis cases end in death. It kills more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease.

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