What is meningitis?
Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, which protect and surround the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by a number of viruses and bacteria. Whilst it can affect anyone at any time, there are particular risk factors that increase the possibility of meningitis in students - especially those in their first year.

The MenACWY vaccine
It protects against disease caused by four of the main groups of meningococcal bacteria - A, C, W and Y. For students under the age of 25, it is advisable to get the vaccine at least two weeks before arrival at the university. Remember, no vaccine will offer complete protection from meningitis. Vigilance is vital.

What are the signs and symptoms?
Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, remaining vigilant and getting medical help quickly can save lives.

Meningitis symptoms can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all. Early symptoms of meningitis can include:

muscle pain
stomach cramps
fever with cold hands and feet

If you have any concerns about your health or if you need to seek medical advice then please consult your GP or call the Student Health Hub on 01334 465777.

Out of regular working hours you should call NHS24 on 111.  Students in a University Hall of Residence can call their wardennial team for assistance between 7pm and 8am (Monday to Friday) or 2pm to 9am (Weekends); alternatively the 24hr Security and Response Team (01334 468999) can put you in touch with the duty warden.  

For more information visit Meningitis Now

Tuberculosis (TB)

What is TB?

It is a disease caused by a germ (bacterium) that usually affects the lungs, but can affect other parts of the body, such as the bones, lymph nodes (glands) and brain.

Signs and symptoms

TB disease develops slowly and it usually takes several months or years for symptoms to appear. The main symptoms include:

  • Cough which lasts for more than a month.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fever and night sweats.
  • Blood in spit or sputum (phlegm) at any time.

How do you catch TB?

The germ that causes TB is usually spread in the air when a person who has infectious TB of the lungs cough, sneezes or spits. You need close prolonged contact with an infective person to be at risk of being infected. Not all people who become infected with TB go on to have the disease as the bacteria can remain inactive. However, the elderly or those who suffer poor health and have weakened body defences may develop the illness some time later.

How is TB diagnosed

TB is usually diagnosed by a skin test, chest X-ray and examination of sputum or body tissue.

Can you be immunised against TB?

BCG vaccination gives some protection against TB. It is recommended for those people at higher risk of exposure to TB e.g. healthcare staff, children whose families come from countries with a high level of TB and those people intending to stay in high risk countries for more than a month.

Can TB be prevented?

The most important way of preventing the spread of TB is by treating people with the disease and identifying those at high risk of developing the disease.

Is there any treatment?

Yes. Most TB is curable provided that it is diagnosed and treated early. Treatment with a combination of antibiotic pills usually taken over a long period, sometimes up to a year, is required. Many people can be treated at home but others may need to be admitted to hospital, especially if they are very ill or thought to be highly infectious. Once treatment is started people usually become non-infectious after 2 weeks. However, it is very important to complete the full course of treatment to be cured.

What is Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDRTB)?

Multi-drug resistant TB (MDRTB) refers to strains of TB that are resistant to more than one of the standard drugs used to treat TB. Treatment of MDRTB requires a more complex combination of drugs for a longer time. Unfortunately this form of TB, which is rare in the UK, is more difficult to treat and can be fatal.