Students in Wolverhampton are being urged to get vaccinated amid concerns that cases of meningitis could spike during the winter months.

They should speak to their GP now about getting the MenACWY vaccine to help protect them from meningococcal disease - which can lead to meningitis and septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

Teenagers aged 18 and 19 can receive the vaccine for free, regardless of whether they're studying or pursuing other activities.

The meningococcal infection spreads through close persistent contact with people who unknowingly carry the bacteria, so Public Health England is urging students to take up the vaccine before they return to university and halls of residence, where they are often in close contact with many other students.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, said: "As students head home for the winter break, we urge them to contact their GP to get vaccinated, if they haven't already done so. Think of it as an early New Year's resolution and keep yourself and your friends safe by getting vaccinated."

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Meningitis can be deadly and survivors are often left with severe disabilities as a result of this terrible disease. Having this vaccine could save a young person's life, or prevent them from permanent disability.

"People should also remain alert to the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and seek urgent medical attention if there is any concern.

"It develops rapidly and early symptoms can include headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet. People should be aware of all the signs and symptoms and trust their instincts - don't wait for a rash to develop before seeking urgent medical attention."

  • released: Thursday 17 December, 2015