I was devastated to learn that two Liverpool Hope University students contracted Meningococcal Group C – one of whom died – recently.
Our thoughts are with family and friends of first-year Alisha Bartolini, 18, who was found dead in her Childwall halls of residence on Saturday, November 1, after a night out.
I lost my baby son Spencer to the disease some time ago and can imagine the pain people suffer.
We are further saddened that an unnamed man, 18, of the same halls, is battling Men C, but are touched he is responding to hospital treatment.
Meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) can be difficult to diagnose and can kill in hours.
The bacteria are not easily spread, only prolonged close contact with a sufferer will partially increase risk.
However, university students, especially freshers, are the second most at-risk group because they live in close quarters.
We ask everyone to ensure their vaccines are up to date including Men C, but there are not vaccines for all types, so people should learn the signs, which can be lifesaving.
Students should look out for each other and, if in doubt, seek medical help immediately.
Meningitis signs include a dislike of bright light, stiff neck, headache, fever, lethargy and vomiting.
Septicaemia signs include cold hands and feet, leg pain and a pin-prick rash that does not fade under pressure.
Do not wait for a rash because it is often a late sign or may never appear, if in doubt get checked out.
We have Community Support Officers in your area, ready to help anyone touched by the disease.
Founder, Meningitis Now