Young people going to college or university this autumn are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated against meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) due to the MenW bug, one of the most aggressive and deadly strains of Meningitis.
Young people going on to university or college are particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria.
GPs will be writing to the following groups to encourage them to get vaccinated at their surgery as soon as possible:
The disease can develop suddenly and progress rapidly. Early symptoms include headache, vomiting, muscle pain, fever, and cold hands and feet. Students should be alert to the signs and symptoms and should not wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention urgently. Students are also encouraged to look out for their mates, particularly if they go to their room unwell.
Dr Rosemary McCann, Deputy Director for Health Protection at PHE North West said:
“Protecting young people from this potentially deadly disease as they embark upon one of the most important periods of their lives is vitally important. The vaccination will save lives and prevent lifelong devastating disability.
“We are encouraging all eligible 17 and 18 year-olds who have just left school to get vaccinated – particularly those heading to college or university. ”