Meningitis kills Surrey University student

image source, Hailshadow

A student has died from meningitis and another two are recovering, prompting a university to offer undergraduates a vaccination.

The first year student at the University of Surrey died while returning from a sports trip to Italy.

The other two students have both been treated and are "recovering well", the university said.

The university is working with Public Health England (PHE) to inoculate students living in halls of residence.

All three students were diagnosed with meningitis, but two of them - including the one who died - had the meningitis B infection, prompting the "precautionary vaccinations".

Risk 'very low'

A total of 4,200 full-time students - about one third of the student population - will be offered the jab.

Vice Chancellor Prof Max Lu said the university had been "reassured that the risk to staff, students and visitors is still very low".

Prof Kamila Hawthorne, associate dean for medicine at the university said evidence showed the infection was not "highly contagious, comparatively rare and the risk to the wider community remains very low".

"Only people who have prolonged, close contact with an ill person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell."

What is meningitis?

  • An infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
  • Most common in babies, children, teenagers and young adults
  • Symptoms develop suddenly and can include a high temperature over 37.5C, a dislike of bright lights and a stiff neck
  • Usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection
  • The viruses and bacteria that cause meningitis can be spread through sneezing, coughing, kissing, and sharing utensils and toothbrushes

Source: NHS Choices

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