Students most at risk of contracting Meningitis strain

Contrary to popular belief, it is not only babies who can contract meningitis.

The strain called MeningitisW has been on the rise since 2009 and puts university students most at risk.

The disease causes inflammation of the membranes which surround and protect the brain and spinal cord and can cause a life-changing impact.

In 2009 there were only 22 confirmed cases, but this number rose to 117 in 2014.

According to a report by Newsbeat, 17 and 18 year olds who are heading to university will be offered a free vaccine against the disease.

Newsbeat have spoken to an Information Officer at the charity Meningitis Now who said that the bacteria is carried at the back of the nose and throat more in teenagers than in other age groups.

“At uni, that age group mix together, socialise together, live together in halls of residence so there’s more chance of the bacteria being spread around,” added Sussette Worgan-Brown.

MeningitisW (also called MenW) has a higher that normal mortality rate.

The charity warns that symptoms could be mistaken for a hangover, so it is important that students are aware and seek medical help.

Symptoms include:

  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Severe Muscle Pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Rashes

 

Head over to Newsbeat to hear Harriet’s story. She contracted the strain while she was at university.

 

 

 

// Beth

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