A STUDENT at Bath Spa University has died after contracting suspected meningitis, it has emerged.
The third year business and management student was rushed to hospital at the weekend and passed away suddenly.
His flatmates and people who had been in close contact with him recently have been informed.
Students at the university have been emailed, with Vice-Chancellor Prof Sue Rigby saying she is not aware of any other probable cases.
The email also said the university is “supporting” the boy’s family and friends “at this difficult and tragic time”, the BBC reports.
It added: “We will let you know if meningitis is confirmed in this case as soon as this information is available.”
Students more susceptible
Any students with fears over their health have been urged to contact their GP.
Meningitis can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults.
Cases of bacterial meningitis can spike during the winter months and students are particularly susceptible.
Leading charity the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) said they are in touch with the university and Public Health England.
They confirmed the student is thought to have contracted meningitis B – the most common strain of bacterial meningitis.
And the charity said all those who came into close contact with the student have been given antibiotics as a precaution.
Students should get jab
Rob Dawson, director of support at the MRF told The Sun Online: “We are saddened to learn of this tragic death and our thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends.
“We’re here to help anyone affected by meningitis or septicaemia.”
He urged all students to ensure they are protected – by taking up the offer of meningitis vaccines.
“Around one in five teenagers harmlessly carry meningococcal bacteria in the back of the nose and throat, but it is quite unusual for the bacteria to invade the body and cause disease,” Mr Dawson said.
“Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted from person to person by close contact with others such as coughing, sneezing, kissing etc.
“However, usually we have to be in very close or regular contact with someone for the bacteria to pass between us.
“Even when this happens, most of us will not become ill.
“We encourage everyone to take up the offer of the vaccines that are available to them to protect themselves and their families.
“However, there are not yet vaccines available to prevent all forms of the disease so it is vital that people are aware of the symptoms.”
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
The symptoms of meningitis develop suddenly and include:
- A high fever over 37.5 degrees – the average human temperature
- being sick
- a headache
- a blotchy rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
- stiffness, especially in the neck
- sensitivity to bright lights
- drowsiness, irritability or lack of energy
- cold hands and feet
The classic rash associated with meningitis usually looks like small, red pinpricks at first.
But it will spread over the body and turn into red or purple blotches.
If you press the side of a glass firmly against the skin where the rash is and it does not fade, it is a sign of blood poisoning and you should get medical help immediately.
The Meningitis Research Foundation has warned the symptoms can easily be mistaken for a hangover.
Young adults – those up to the age of 25 – are urged to check if they are eligible for the MenACWY jab – which protects against four main strains.
Immunisation against MenB – the most common cause of bacterial meningitis – is only offered to babies as part of the childhood immunisation programme on the NHS.
Liz Brown, former Meningitis Now chief executive, previously warned: “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.
“It’s vital that those going to Uni this autumn are not complacent about the threat of meningitis – we urge them to take up this lifesaving vaccine before they go.”
A rise in the number of students being struck down by deadly meningitis recently prompted health experts to urge all students to get the Men ACWY jab.
The vaccine protects against group W meningococcal disease, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia.
The warning comes as more young people are struck by the deadly disease.
Cases of the highly contagious strain of Men W bacteria increased from 22 in England in 2009/10 to 210 in 2015/16.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/49048/university-student-dies-suddenly-from-suspected-meningitis/