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The BBC's Emma Howard
"A viral form of meningitis as opposed to the more serious bacterial form"
 real 56k

Friday, 1 September, 2000, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Posh Spice struck by meningitis
Victoria Beckham
Hard worker: Victoria Beckham feels the strain promoting her single
Singer Victoria Beckham has been diagnosed with viral meningitis, forcing her to cancel a series of promotional appearances.

Posh Spice had to fly home from Germany and cancel a series of television appearances because she was feeling unwell.

The 26-year-old Spice Girls singer called London radio station Capital FM to talk about her illness after she was upset by jokes about her pulling out of the shows.

The condition - an inflammation of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord - is not serious or contagious and requires no treatment, usually clearing up within a week or two.

'Very sorry for herself'

She was returning home from hospital with her mother Jackie when she heard Capital's traffic reporter Russ Kane talk about newspaper reports of her pulling out with breakfast presenter Neil Fox.

Kane quipped: "Poor Victoria. Maybe she should get together with the long-suffering Mrs Kane if she wants to discuss stress over the last three years."

Fox said: "When I spoke to her she was sitting on the stairs at her mum's house feeling very sorry for herself.

Victoria Beckham and son Brooklyn
A sickly son didn't help Victoria on the phone
"Brooklyn had just puked up all over her and I had a feeling it wasn't a great Friday for her."

Kane added: "Had I known Victoria was ill, I would never have made the remark."

Mother Jackie said: "She doesn't look much like a pop star today, just my sick daughter."

Charity work

The singer is the patron of the Meningitis Research Foundation, and launched its Babywatch campaign earlier this year.

A spokeswoman said there had been a huge increase in cases this summer.

"Victoria has seen a neurologist and she has been told she has got viral meningitis," she added.

"We are talking to her and her family and she is at home resting. We never thought we would be giving help and advice to our own patron."

Beckham - whose husband David is in the England football squad to play France in Paris on Saturday - took on a heavy workload during August to promote her first single outside of the Spice Girls.

Out of Your Mind - a collaboration with club act Truesteppers and vocalist Dane Bowers - reached number two, but was preceded by a gruelling tour of interviews and personal appearances.

On Wednesday, the Beckhams dropped High Court attempts to prevent the publication of a book about them, after coming to a settlement with the biographer Andrew Morton and his publishers.

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See also:

29 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Just an ordinary couple?
20 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Posh suffers chart failure
18 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Spiller star slams Posh campaign
31 Jan 00 | Health
The meningitis files
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