Public Health England are urging students to be immunised with a new vaccine, introduced last year, which protects against four strains of the bacterial infection – A, C, Y and W.
In order to get the vaccination you will need to be registered with a GP. You can find your nearest GP on the NHS webiste or you can register with the Student Medical Centre on 01202 965378. Please note: this is a really busy time of year - if you are having problems getting through on the phone you can attend the centre from 8.45am.
Cases of Meningitis W have been increasing each year with over 200 cases in the last year. Students going to university or college are particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many new people, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria. Anyone in the appropriate age group will be eligible to get the vaccine, whether starting university or not, and GPs will be writing to the following groups to encourage them to get vaccinated as soon as possible:
- All 17 and 18-year-olds (school year 13, born between 1/9/1997 and 31/08/1998)
- 19-year-olds who missed getting vaccinated last year (anyone born between 1/9/1996 and 31/08/1997)
- First-time students up to the age of 25 are also advised to get the vaccine.
The germs that cause bacterial meningitis are carried in the back of the throat of about one in ten people at any one time, but rarely cause illness. Most people who carry the bacteria become immune to them. The germs do not spread easily, but can be transferred from one person to another through secretions from the nose or throat during close contact. The infection is not acquired simply by being in the same room as an infected person. As at other times, we recommend that you watch closely for symptoms in yourself, your friends and your colleagues. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best defence against this serious disease.
Remember that although you may well have been vaccinated against the C strain of meningitis, the vaccine does not protect against other strains of the disease. It is therefore very important to remain vigilant whether you have been vaccinated or not.
- severe headache
- high temperature/fever
- stiff neck
- dislike of bright lights
- pale, blotchy skin
- joint pains
- cold hands and feet
- rash of red/purple spots which looks like bruising under the skin.
Only some of these symptoms may show for further information read the FAQs about the Men ACWY vaccine. If you are worried that you may have the symptoms of bacterial meningitis, or if you think that you have observed them in someone else, seek immediate medical advice from your GP. If the situation appears to be an emergency, call 999.
More information about meningitis is available from the 24-hour national help lines of the meningitis charities and the NHS website:
Meningitis Research Foundation: 080 8800 3344
Meningitis Now: 0808 80 10 388