Health Experts Recommend Meningitis Vaccinations Ahead of University New Year

August 4th, 2015
Health Experts Recommend Meningitis Vaccinations Ahead of University New Year

Health experts are urging 17 and 18 years old heading off to college or university to have a vaccination to protect them against a life-threatening strain of meningitis known as MenW.

GP surgeries across the country are inviting teenagers and first-time students under the age of 25 to have the vaccine in the run-up to the start of the new university year. Thousands of students will be embarking on higher education programmes in the coming weeks and experts are eager to get as many people involved in the immunisation programme as possible.

Figures show that there has been a spike in the number of cases of MenW cases since 2009 and this age group is particularly susceptible. Death rates for MenW are higher than other strains of the disease and students are at risk because they tend to mix with large numbers of people in confined spaces.

In the next few weeks, before terms begin in September and October, Public Health England is advising those who are going to university for the first time to have the vaccine and the move has also been supported by health bodies in Scotland and Wales.

The vaccination offers protection against cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by four strains of meningococcal bacteria: MenW, C, A and Y. All teenagers born between the 1st September 1996 and the 31st August 1997 will be sent an invitation in the post by their local GP surgery.

Meningitis is a serious, potentially life-threatening infection of the meniniges, the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms and warning signs include a fever, vomiting, headaches, confusion and cold extremities.

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