WATCH: Meningitis survivor tells her story as students are warned of threat

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Students across Hampshire are urged to get vaccinated against meningitis and septicaemia.

Public Health England says cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by the aggressive meningococcal W strain are still rising and the MenACWY vaccine is the best form of protection against these four strains of this deadly disease, known as Men A, C, W and Y.

Students are being urged to have a vaccination

Students are being urged to have a vaccination

All can all cause meningitis and septicaemia.

Officials say more than 2 million eligible young people have already received the MenACWY vaccine, but some remain unvaccinated.

Public Health England experts, who are using videos such as this survivor's story to get across their message to students heading to university, say MenW is one of the most aggressive and life-threatening forms of meningococcal disease and can rapidly become fatal.

'Many survivors are left with life changing disabilities, including brain damage and loss of limbs' said a spokeswoman. 'However there is a vaccine against the MenW strain which teenagers can receive, that also protects against the A,C and Y strains.

'Teenagers in eligible groups, who missed vaccination in previous years, can still have the vaccine up to their 25th birthday, whether attending university or not. Students starting university for the first time are particularly at risk if they remain unvaccinated.'

Clare Simpson, PHE's screening and immunisations lead for Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said: “The MenACWY vaccination programme will save lives and prevent lifelong and devastating disability.

“We have seen a rapid increase in MenW cases across England in recent years and vaccination is the most effective way of protecting against infection.

“Young people are particularly at risk from the MenW strain. Being in confined environments with close contact, such as university halls, pubs and clubs increases the chances of infection if unprotected.

“We urge anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Remain vigilant and seek urgent medical help if you or someone you know may be showing signs of infection.”

While the MenACWY vaccine is highly effective in protecting against these four deadly strains, it does not protect against all strains that can cause meningitis and septicaemia, and does not protect against Meningitis B.

Having this vaccine will reduce the risk of getting meningitis and septicaemia, but it is therefore still important to be vigilant in being able to spot early symptoms of infection and to seek prompt medical assistance if you are concerned about family or friends who might be becoming unwell.

Symptoms of infection may include:

Fever, cold hands and feet

Severe headache, joint or muscle pains

Stiff neck

Dislike of bright lights

Vomiting and/or diarrhoea

Pale, blotchy skin with or without a rash

Irritability and/or confusion

Drowsiness, difficult to wake up

Convulsions/seizures

Public health says not everyone will develop these symptoms and they can appear in any order. If in doubt seek advice from a medical professional.

Further information is on the NHS Choices website.