Meningitis and Men ACWY - what you need to know

Meningitis poses a particular risk to students - make sure you’re up-to-date on what you need to know.

Public Health England are urging students to get a vaccine against meningitis as the number of cases of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by the Men W disease are increasing, due to a particularly aggressive strain of the bug. New students are considered to be at risk as they often mix with large numbers of unfamiliar people, some of whom will be carrying the bug.

Students are strongly encouraged to speak to their GP (doctor) about having the Men ACWY vaccine before the start of term.

NHS Choices states that ‘the Men ACWY vaccine provides good protection against serious infections caused by four different meningococcal groups (A, C, W and Y) including meningitis and septicaemia.

‘Have your Men ACWY vaccine before you come up to University if you are a new student. Your GP will probably have already sent you an invitation to have the vaccination or will do shortly if you are 18 by 31st August, 2016. If you cannot have the vaccine before arriving, register with a GP in Birmingham as soon as possible and ask to be vaccinated. International students, and those who are not offered vaccination by their GP, should request it when they register with a Birmingham GP.’ Dr V. Raichura, University Medical Officer

Early symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia can include fever (sometimes with cold hands and feet), headache, vomiting, and muscle pain. Be aware of all the signs and symptoms so that you know what to look for, for yourself and your friends.

‘Coming to university is one of the most fun and exciting times of your life but there are some really important things to do before and when you arrive. Registering with a GP and getting your Men ACWY (meningitis) vaccination is one of those important things. Being healthy and well, especially when you're away from home, is essential and having it all sorted from the start will be really helpful. It's a quick and easy process, get it done and then you can focus on the more fun aspects of saying #hellobrum’ Ellie Keiller, President of the Guild of Students

See our information about registering with a GP for new students, and our additional information for international students, on our Welcome website.

Key Points

  • New students should speak to their GP about having the vaccine a few weeks before starting at the University
  • Remember to register with a GP when you arrive – it is better to register before you need them
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia
  • If you are concerned you or someone else may have meningitis or septicaemia, seek medical help immediately. Call NHS Advice on 111 or speak to your GP for advice, or call 999 or go to A&E in an emergency.

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