Public Health England (PHE) is working with the University of Bristol and North Bristol Hospitals Trust following a case of confirmed meningococcal B meningitis in a student who attends the university.
The student is currently receiving treatment and is recovering well.
PHE’s health protection team and the university have identified close contacts of the case (students who share the same accommodation block) and antibiotics are being arranged as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of any additional cases.
Several cases of meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal infection have occurred recently in the Bristol area since the tragic death of George Zographou in August, and prior to that, Izzy Gentry in May 2016. Both George and Izzy died from meningococcal B infection and were students at St Brendan’s college in Bristol.
Public Health England has this week been investigating the cause of death of a student from Orchard School in Bristol, who tragically died at the weekend. All of the tests completed so far are negative for meningococcal infection.
Rob Dawson, Head of Support at MRF said, “The thoughts and condolences of everyone at MRF are with the family and friends affected by these cases of meningitis and septicaemia in Bristol. Our free helpline and support service is here to support anyone affected.
“Around 1 in 4 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. 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 because we have natural immunity. The bacteria cannot live longer than a few moments outside the body, so they are not carried on things like clothes and bedding, toys or dishes so there is no need to be concerned that the physical environment of Bristol itself is the source of the infection.
“It’s important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.”
Knowing the symptoms can save lives. Check them here.
There are many different causes of meningitis and septicaemia, so it is important for students to protect themselves with vaccines which are available free of charge. A MenACWY vaccine is available free of charge on the NHS and MRF strongly encourages those eligible to take up the vaccine. It’s easy for anyone to check their eligibility at www.meningitis.org/eligibility-checker/
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) provided literature about the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia to students at the University of Bristol at the start of term and any students with questions or concerns can call the helpline on 080 8800 3344.