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Public Health England urges first year students to get immunised against meningococcal disease (meningitis)

Friday 20 January 2017

Public Health England (PHE) would like to remind you to get immunised against meningococcal disease (meningitis) if you have not already done so.

To get vaccinated with the Meningococcal ACWY (Men ACWY) vaccine, please register with a General Practitioner (GP). Even if you have already had the MenC vaccine, you should have the MenACWY vaccine. The vaccine is available for first-time students up to the age of 25. Second year students who missed their vaccination last year are also eligible for immunisation.

Meningitis, particularly the highly virulent strain meningococcal W disease (Men W), poses a high risk for new students. This is due to the likelihood of coming into contact with a number of new people when first arriving at university, some of whom will unknowingly be carrying the bacteria, without any signs or symptoms, enabling it to spread. This risk has been increasing in recent years, which is why it is advised that you get the vaccination as soon as possible.

You are advised to let someone know and seek medical advice if you are feeling unwell, and to keep an eye on friends who are ill. Seek medical advice immediately if you or someone has concerning symptoms, or their condition appears to be getting worse. Meningococcal disease can develop suddenly, usually as meningitis or septicaemia. Early symptoms include severe diarrhoea and vomiting, headaches, muscle pain, fever, and cold hands and feet. It can kill, or leave people with life-changing disabilities or health problems, like hearing loss, brain damage or the loss of a limb.
The vaccine, which also provides protection against the Men A, C and Y strains, not only protects you, but also helps control the spread of the disease in the wider community.

For more information about meningitis, please visit the Student Health Service website.

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