Meningitis vaccinations offered at Liverpool Hope University

Liverpool Hope University Image copyright Google
Image caption All Liverpool Hope University students will be offered vaccinations over the next two weeks

Students in Liverpool are being offered vaccinations after a second meningitis case at Hope University was confirmed.

A male student, 18, is recovering after becoming ill at Hope Park Campus, where 18-year-old Alisha Bartolini died from the infection on 1 November.

The Meningitis C vaccinations will be offered to all students at the university over the next two weeks.

Public health officials have advised all Merseyside university students under 25 to have the vaccine.

Dr Joanna Cartwright, from the Liverpool centre of Public Health England (PHE), said: "If you can't remember if you have been vaccinated already, the best thing to do is to check with your doctor.

"If in doubt, there is no harm in having an extra dose."

Risk of infection

Both cases have been confirmed as meningitis type C caused by the meningococcal bacteria.

Meningococcal C disease, which can cause inflammation of the brain or septicaemia (blood poisoning), is comparatively rare but more common in the winter.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Alisha Bartolini was studying marketing and media at Liverpool Hope University

Symptoms include vomiting, joint and muscle pain, and a rash that doesn't fade when pressed with a glass.

PHE said the bacteria does not spread easily and only people with prolonged and close contact with the patient are at a "slightly increased risk of becoming unwell".

"Students starting university and mixing with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria, are at risk of infection," said Dr Cartwright.

'Bubbly' student

Miss Bartolini, from Appley Bridge, near Wigan, was found dead at her accommodation after she had been to a Halloween party.

Her family said the media and marketing student was "intelligent, bubbly and popular".

Residents at Austin Hall in Childwall, where both students lived, have already been given antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

"The meningococcal bacteria can be carried in your nose without causing any harm," said Dr Cartwright.

"Antibiotics clear it from your nose so you can't pass it on to others, and vaccination will give long term protection."

A spokeswoman for Liverpool Hope University said: "The welfare of our students is our priority. We are continuing to work closely with Public Health England and are following their advice."

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