Published Thursday 18 December 2014 at 11:37
All UK children are offered Meningococcal C (Men C) vaccine to protect against MenC infection but, as the protection offered by the vaccine in pre-school children can wane, a booster for teenagers at school was introduced and also offered to students from August this year.
Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health, Dominic Harrison, said:
“Meningococcal C disease is a rare but life-threatening infection that occurs mainly in children and young adults. Students mixing with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria, are at risk of infection.
“The holiday season is an ideal time to remind those students who have not had the vaccine to get it before they return for the new term.
“It’s not too late for students who didn’t receive the vaccine before starting university. Anyone in their first year of university who hasn’t had the booster should arrange to get it as soon as possible, via their university or college health centre or from their family GP. If in doubt, there is no harm in having an extra dose.”
There are other forms of meningitis that are not so easily prevented. So it’s vital students know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia and that they look out for one another, seeking medical help fast if they have concerns.
Symptoms of meningococcal disease and septicaemia can include:
- severe headache, light sensitivity
- neck stiffness
- fever, aching
- cold hands and feet/ shivering
- pale, blotchy skin with or without a rash. It may appear anywhere on the body as tiny red ‘pin pricks’ which can develop into purple bruising, and does not fade under pressure.
Anyone experiencing some of these symptoms should go to their GP the hospital Emergency Department.