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Immunisations and Meningitis

MEASLES, MUMPS AND MENINGITIS ARE SERIOUS INFECTIOUS ILLNESSES THAT CAN SPREAD EASILY WHEN GROUPS OF PEOPLE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER SUCH AS AT UNIVERSITY, SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE FULLY PROTECTED BEFORE YOU START YOUR STUDIES.

We highly recommend that, before you come to University, you go to your home doctor and get the new ‘Men ACWY’ vaccine (which offers protection against the new ‘Meningitis W’ strain as well as the other three groups of meningococcal bacteria A, C and Y) and check your MMR vaccination status. 

We do also strongly advise that you get the recommended two MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccinations if you have not previously been immunised.  (You can also get these vaccinations when you register at a GP surgery local to the University).

For more information on the Men ACWY vaccine and why it is advisable to have it please see the NHS Choices pages on ‘Men ACWY vaccine’

For more information on the MMR vaccine and why it is advisable to have it please see the NHS Choices pages on ‘Mumps vaccine for teenagers’

You will be asked for your record of vaccinations when you register for University.  You can get a print of your record of vaccinations from your home GP; please bring this with you on registration day at University.

Meningitis

Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning) are serious diseases that can strike rapidly with little warning and if left untreated could be fatal. Outbreaks of meningitis tend to occur where people live or work closely together, such as university, living in halls of residence, living in shared student accommodation.

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges (the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord). The infection can be caused by bacteria or a virus, and it leads to the meninges becoming inflamed.  This can damage the nerves and brain.

Early treatment of meningitis is essential to save lives, so it is important to KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS!

The following are common symptoms and signs of Meningitis and Septicaemia (blood poisoning) however, remember that NOT EVERYONE gets ALL these symptoms:

  • Fever / High temperature (with cold hands and feet)
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Joint or muscle aches and pains
  • Drowsy, difficult to wake
  • Confusion
  • Septicaemia signs = stomach cramp, diarrhoea, rash

The rash that shows Septicaemia (blood poisoning) will not fade under pressure - use the GLASS test: push a glass on to the rash and if it does not disappear under pressure it is a Meningococcal Septicaemia rash. 

Early signs and symptoms can be confused with flu or a bad hangover.  Trust your instincts - get medical help immediately, dial 999, this could be a medical EMERGENCY!

For more information on meningitis please see the Meningitis Now website.