Portsmouth freshers urged to get meningitis vaccination ahead of new term
Freshers at Portsmouth University are being encouraged to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease after it was revealed that less than a quarter of young people have received the vaccine this year.
Public Health England (PHE) has advised all school leavers to get the jab from their GP.
It comes as there has been a sharp increase in a highly aggressive strain of MenW, with one in 10 cases resulting in death.
PHE is targeting young students who are at greater risk because they mix closely with large groups of new people, allowing the bacteria to spread quickly.
Anyone infected by the bacteria can develop meningitis, the infection and inflammation of the brain, or septicaemia blood poisoning.
Early symptoms include headaches, vomiting, muscle pain, fever, cold hands and feet.
Survivors can be left with life-changing disabilities like hearing loss, brain damage and loss of limbs.
In 2009/10 there were 22 cases in children and adults in Britain, but this rose to 209 in 2015/16.
PHE head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said: ‘It’s only a month since we first made our appeal to these teenagers, so we know many will still be making arrangements to get vaccinated.
‘But I strongly urge those who haven’t done so to get their injection now. If you’re not registered with a GP yet at university, get registered and get your jab.
‘New students should be alert to the signs and symptoms and should not wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention urgently. ‘Students are also encouraged to look out for their friends, particularly if they go to their room unwell.’
Young people can get their jab from their GP, either at home or where they are studying.