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Advice for UCL students about meningococcal disease

15 December 2017

The Director of UCL Student Support and Wellbeing was informed by Public Health England that a person associated with UCL was recently admitted to hospital with suspected meningococcal meningitis. 

UCL is working closely with Public Health England and we have identified all of those who had close contact with the person and arranged a course of antibiotics for them as a precautionary measure. The antibiotics are given to kill the meningococci that they may be carrying in their nose or throat, and will reduce the risk of infection to others.

Although the risk to other members of the UCL community is generally low, it is important to be aware of the symptoms, which can include fever, a severe headache, stiff neck, drowsiness or confusion, aversion to bright light, painful joints, nausea and vomiting.

It can also cause a characteristic rash that does not fade when pressed against a glass. Early symptoms of meningitis can easily be mistaken for something else, such as flu, or even a hangover, but trust your instincts and if you suspect the disease seek medical advice immediately by calling your GP or NHS 111. Public Health England have provided a fact sheet: Meningitis and Septicaemia, available to download via the link at the bottom of this page.

Please also ensure that you have been vaccinated with the Meningitis ACWY vaccine, offered to all people aged under 25 in the UK, as it protects against four types of meningococcal bacteria. The vaccine is available from your GP.

If you need any further information or advice you can contact Ridgmount Practice, 8 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AA on 020 7387 6306 or one of these 24 hour helplines:

· NHS: 111

· The Meningitis Research Foundation: 0808 800 3344

· Meningitis Now: 0808 80 10 388 (24hr nurse-staffed helpline)

Further advice can also be obtained from the North East and North Central London Health Protection Team on 020 3837 7084 during office hours. 

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Ms Denise Long, Director, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing