Cases of group B meningococcal disease, a life-threatening infection, are rising among students at university - please take the time to read this so you’re aware of the symptoms and what to do if you think you, or someone you know, may be affected.
Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening infection caused by bacteria that can go on to cause meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
The disease can progress very quickly so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that you can get medical help as soon as possible.
Signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia
Seek medical help immediately if you or someone you know has any of the following symptoms:
- fever with cold hands and feet
- drowsy or difficult to wake
- confusion and irritability
- severe muscle pain
- pale blotchy skin, spots or rash
- severe headache
- stiff neck
- dislike of bright lights
- convulsions or seizures
You can seek medical help in an emergency by calling 999 and asking for an ambulance.
Getting vaccinated against meningitis
All university students under the age of 25 should be immunised against meningitis (the ACWY vaccine). This vaccine also protects against septicaemia. Most UK students will have received this vaccine at school, between the ages of 13 and 15.
If you haven’t had this vaccine for any reason, please speak to your doctor about getting vaccinated - this includes international students.