Health

Student at Bath Spa University dies after contracting meningitis


A student at Bath Spa University has died after contracting meningococcal meningitis.

Public Health England said it was working closely with the university, NHS partners and Bath and North East Somerset council following the death.

Antibiotics have been arranged for close contacts of the student, with fellow students and staff reminded of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal infection.

The infection can cause septicaemia as well as meningitis.

Dr Toyin Ejidokun, a consultant in health protection for Public Health England south west, said: “We are very sad to hear about the death of the student and our thoughts are with their family, friends and the university community.

“We understand that there will be concern among students, staff and parents following this death, and we are following national guidelines to reduce the risk of infection spreading to close household contacts.

“Those that have attended classes or have spent a short amount of time with the student are not classified as close household contacts.”

Dr Ejidokun said there was “no need for a wider group” to take antibiotics, but students should ensure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and be alert to the signs and symptoms of the disease.

These include vomiting, severe headache, unexplained temperature rise, dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, a non-blanching rash, drowsiness and altered levels of consciousness.

Anyone feeling “unusually unwell” and displaying such symptoms should immediately contact their GP or call 111, Dr Ejidokun said.

The strain of meningitis in the case has been confirmed as group B, which is not covered by routine teenage vaccination.

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Rob Dawson, the director of support at Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “We are saddened to learn of this tragic death and our thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends.

“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.

“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.”



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