The germs that cause bacterial meningitis (also known as meningococcal meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia) are very common and live naturally in the back of the nose and throat (nasopharynx). They spread between people in droplets from the mouth and nose. Outside the human body they do not survive for very long and so cannot be picked up from buildings or factories, water supplies, toilets or swimming pools. People of any age can carry these germs for days, weeks or months without becoming at all unwell. In fact, being a carrier helps boost natural immunity. Only on rare occasions do the bacteria overcome the body’s defences and cause illness. It can take between two and seven days after being exposed for someone to develop the disease.
For information on the signs and symptoms of meningitis, click on this link Meningitis Signs and Symptoms
You can get further information from:-
The Meningitis Research Foundation
www.meningitis.org 0808 800 3344 (24hrs)
The Meningitis Now
www.meningitisnow.org 0808 8010388 (24hrs)
www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk 0845 46 47
Public Health England Notification
MMR vaccination call following recent measles cases in university students
Public Health England and Universities UK are asking students to check that they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine in the past, following an increase in confirmed cases of measles over the past few weeks.
Cases have mainly been confirmed in unimmunised adolescents and young adults, some of which are known to be university students in the South. Many of these cases have been admitted to hospital.
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It’s now uncommon in the UK because of the effective MMR vaccination programme. Although it may be a mild illness in children, measles can be more severe in adults. Those who are unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, remain susceptible to the disease.
It’s never too late to have the vaccine. Students who have not received two doses of the vaccine in the past – or who are unsure – are advised to check they have received both doses of MMR. Your parents may have this information available so please check with them first.
If you are still unsure, contact the Medical Centre and request a check of your vaccination history. Please note this may take up to 7 working days. There’s no harm in receiving an additional dose if there is any uncertainty.
Students are also asked to remain alert to measles, which can include cold-like symptoms, sore red eyes, a high temperature or a red-brown blotchy rash. Those experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention, but phone ahead before visiting GP surgeries so arrangements can be made to prevent others from being infected. Those who have been in close contact with someone who has measles should also contact their GP surgery, if they have not been fully vaccinated (had two doses of the MMR vaccine) or haven’t had the infection before – particularly those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant or infants.
Two doses of MMR vaccine are routinely provided as part of the NHS Childhood Immunisation Programme in England. Uptake is now high with more than 90% of children receiving 1 dose of the vaccine by 2 years of age, but uptake of the vaccine was lower at the time the majority of current university students were offered the vaccine as children.
This week (commencing 25 April) is European Immunisation Week and PHE has published a blog on the avoidable health threats every student should know about. Keep an eye on their Twitter account - @PHE_UK – and Facebook page ‘Public Health England’ for further advice.
Measles signs and symptoms
The initial symptoms of measle develop around 10 days after a person is infected. These can include:
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever) which may reach around 40C (104F)
A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. this usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.
Symptoms usually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.
For further information see: