A 19-year-old girl, whose name has not been released, contracted meningococcal (group W) meningitis two weeks ago, and sadly died from the disease just days after starting at the university.
Public Health England (PHE) who made the announcement, first notified fellow residents at the student accommodation, and have offered precautionary antibiotics for those who may have had close contact with her.
Meningitis Now, Young Ambassador Lyndon Longhorne, who is studying at the university, and lives at the same student accommodation, was among the first to be informed.
As a survivor of meningococcal disease and a passionate advocate for student awareness, the news was an all too real reminder of the risk of meningitis and the importance for students to take up the MenACWY vaccine.
“I wanted to become a Young Ambassador so that I could let others know what the symptoms are and also that the charity is there to help and support everyone affected by this horrible disease."
“This death of someone at my uni is a tragedy that could have been avoided – students across the UK should take notice of the danger of this disease and get the vaccination now!”
Responding to the news, Liz Brown, Chief Executive at Meningitis Now said:
“We were deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of another young person to this disease. It is vitally important that students starting university protect themselves with the MenACWY vaccine and know the signs and symptoms of the disease.”
Up to a quarter of students carry the bacteria that can cause meningitis compared to one in ten of the general population. Over 12 per cent of all cases occur in the 14 to 24 age group, with first year students being at particular risk. The MenACWY vaccine was introduced following an 809% increase in MenW cases in the past five years.
Meningitis Now has reached out to the bereaved family and offered support through this incredibly difficult time. The charity is also here for anyone concerned about the risk of meningitis. For support and advice get in touch with our helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or go for the signs and symptoms of the disease.