Torbay Council’s Public Health Team is urging anyone starting university this year to go and get the MenC vaccination before they go.

A rare but life threatening disease, Meningococcal group C disease occurs mainly in young children and young adults. It is likely that you had a MenC vaccination as a young child but immunity decreases over time. Those starting university are more at risk as lots of young people will be mixing closely together and some of them may be unknowingly carrying the meningococcal bacteria.

Meningococcal group C bacteria can cause meningitis, inflammation of the lining of the brain, and septicaemia, blood poisoning, which often but not always leads to a rash of dark spots. Both diseases are very serious, especially if they are not diagnosed – they can even be fatal.

Cllr Chris Lewis, Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is an exciting time going off to university, however, I would urge anyone to remember to go along to their doctor and get the MenC vaccine.

“Just call your GP surgery and make an appointment – tell them you are starting university for the first time this year and you need the MenC vaccination. Ideally, you need to get the vaccine two weeks before you start university.”

Since the introduction of this vaccine in 1999, hundreds have deaths have been avoided and the disease is now much rarer. The symptoms of these diseases are similar to flu, so it is important to be able to recognise the differences very quickly.

Look out for any of these symptoms:

  • Fever, cold hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness, difficult to wake up
  • Irritability and/or confusion
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Severe headache or muscle pains
  • Pale, blotchy skin with or without a rash
  • Stiff neck
  • Convulsions/seizures

A full description of the signs and symptoms can be found at www.meningitisnow.org and www.meningitis.org.


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