TWO young workers at Farnborough's Asda supermarket have been struck down with meningitis.

One was still being treated at Frimley Park Hospital last Friday, and the other has returned home.

Health chiefs say neither case is life threatening, and insist there is no need for the public to panic.

They have given the store in the West Mead precinct the all clear to stay open.

"Customers can confidently continue to shop at this supermarket and other similar stores," said Dr Linda Booth, the area's consultant in communicable disease control.

"The meningitis germ cannot survive in the environment and so cannot be caught through contact with objects or buildings."

Shoppers who have visited the store in recent weeks are not considered to be at an increased risk of becoming ill, she added.

In addition to the two Asda victims, a third meningitis case has been reported at Farnborough and that person is being treated at Frimley Park Hospital.

All three cases are being investigated by medical staff employed by the Blackwater Valley and Hart NHS Primary Care Trust.

Nurses have visited the Asda supermarket and offered the 700 staff a single antibiotic tablet.

They have been advised to take the tablet as a precaution. "The risk of anyone else becoming ill is very low indeed," said a statement. "The tablet will reduce the risk even further."

This time of year is the peak time for meningitis, says the trust, so it is particularly important for the public to be generally aware of the symptoms.

These include fever, headache, stiff neck, aching joints and limbs, nausea and vomiting, and a rash.

The vast majority of cases can be treated successfully, and only rarely does the disease become fatal.

Information about the disease is available from the Meningitis Trust on 0845 600 0800 and from Meningitis Research on 0808 800 3344.

People can also speak to a trained health care professional at NHS Direct on 0845 4647.