Public Health England has launched a meningitis vaccination programme for new students this month.
The vaccination programme will offer students protection against meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by 4 meningococcal strains including MenW. It has been developed in response to a rapidly growing increase in cases of a highly aggressive form of the disease.
New university students are at a high risk of contracting the disease from mixing closely with lots of new people, as up to 25% may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria in their nose or throat, without suffering any illness themselves.
The MenACWY vaccine, which is available from your GP, protects against diseases that cause meningitis and septicaemia though it does not cover against all the causes of these diseases.
Meningitis is comparatively rare, whether you have had the vaccine or not everyone should be aware of the symptoms to look out for and be prepared to take urgent action whenever it is suspected.
Dr Diane Exley, General Practitioner Student Health, said: “We must all remain alert to the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and seek urgent medical attention if there is any concern. The disease develops rapidly and early symptoms can include headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet.
“Be aware of all signs and symptoms and trust your instincts – don’t wait for a rash to develop before seeking urgent medical attention.
“We urge all who are eligible to make sure they get MenACWY vaccine.”
Find out how to spot the signs here: student-news.liverpool.ac.uk/2015/03/04/meningitis-know-the-signs.
Vaccination drop-in sessions for new students are being held on Wednesday 30 September, 4.00 – 7.00pm, in the Herculaneum at Carnatic Halls, and Thursday 1 October, 5.00 – 7.00pm, in the Mountford Hall in the Guild.
Further general information about Meningitis may be obtained from the Meningitis Research Foundation, call: 0808 800 3344 (24hr helpline) or visit: www.meningitis.org.
If you have any concerns at all you may seek advice from your own GP. You can also obtain medical help or advice by calling 111. The University’s Student Health Service can be contacted on 0151 285 4578 and can advise you on vaccinations in the Liverpool area.