Menin­gi­tis B Two hos­pi­talised as new cases at uni­ver­sity con­firmed

Bristol Post - - NEWS - Zosia EYRES zosia.eyres@reach­plc.com

TWO peo­ple have been hos­pi­talised af­ter a con­firmed case of menin­gi­tis at the Uni­ver­sity of Bris­tol.

Pub­lic Health Eng­land (PHE) has is­sued ad­vice to stu­dents af­ter both cases were iden­ti­fied as Menin­gi­tis B.

PHE said stu­dents who share ac­com­mo­da­tion with the pa­tients, who are friends, have been given an­tibi­otics and vac­ci­na­tions to re­duce the risk of the in­fec­tion spread­ing.

Stu­dents are be­ing urged to look out for their house­mates as symp­toms “can look a lot like a hang-over”.

How­ever, PHE said other peo­ple in the wider uni­ver­sity set­ting are not con­sid­ered to be at an in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing meningo­coc­cal dis­ease and said there is cur­rently no need to take any spe­cific ac­tion or change the uni­ver­sity rou­tine for stu­dents and staff.

The two friends are re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in Cardiff and are said to be re­cov­er­ing well. Meningo­coc­cal bac­te­ria are car­ried in the back of the throat of about one in 10 peo­ple at any one time, but only very rarely cause ill­ness.

Most peo­ple who carry the bac­te­ria be­come im­mune to them. The bac­te­ria do not spread eas­ily and only those who have had close pro­longed con­tact with the per­son, nor­mally fam­ily mem­bers, or those shar­ing the same ac­com­mo­da­tion (such as a shared kitchen/ bath­room) are at a slightly greater risk of get­ting ill.

Fiona Neely, con­sul­tant in health pro­tec­tion at Pub­lic Health Eng­land South West, said: “We un­der­stand there will be con­cern among stu­dents, staff and par­ents fol­low­ing th­ese cases, and we are fol­low­ing na­tional guide­lines in im­ple­ment­ing con­trol mea­sures such as elim­i­nat­ing car­riage in close con­tacts to re­duce spread of in­fec­tion.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­as­sure all con­cerned that apart from the very close con­tacts that are be­ing of­fered an­tibi­otics and vac­ci­na­tion, there is no need for a wider group of stu­dents or staff to take an­tibi­otics or be vac­ci­nated.

“The best ad­vice re­mains for ev­ery­one to be aware of and alert to the signs and symp­toms of menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia, es­pe­cially stu­dents and their par­ents.”

PHE said early recog­ni­tion of menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia symp­toms can greatly im­prove the out­come of the dis­ease.

Ms Neely con­tin­ued: “We urge stu­dents to look out for your house­mates as symp­toms of menin­gi­tis can look a lot like a hang­over – so it’s im­por­tant to be vig­i­lant for any­thing out of char­ac­ter.

“We would also urge stu­dents to regis­ter with the Stu­dents’ Health Ser­vice and to take up the of­fer of the MenACWY vac­cine which is avail­able to stu­dents as part of the rou­tine vac­ci­na­tion sched­ule for this age group.”

Dr Tom Nutt, Menin­gi­tis Now chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “We are con­cerned to learn of th­ese Bris­tol cases, and ex­tend our thoughts and best wishes to the in­di­vid­u­als af­fected and their fam­i­lies.

“Menin­gi­tis is a rel­a­tively rare dis­ease, and we urge stu­dents at the uni­ver­sity not to panic. But be­ing aware of the risk, and learn­ing the signs and symp­toms of the dis­ease is one of the best ways to pro­tect your­self and your friends against menin­gi­tis.”

The char­ity is also urg­ing all stu­dents to check whether they have been vac­ci­nated against menin­gi­tis ACWY and if not to ask their GP for the vac­cine.

If any­one is feel­ing unusu­ally un­well, and dis­play­ing the symp­toms of menin­gi­tis or sep­ti­caemia, they should con­tact their GP surgery im­me­di­ately or call NHS 111.

❝ The best ad­vice re­mains for ev­ery­one to be aware of and alert to the symp­toms

Fiona Neely

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.