Only a FIFTH of eligible students protected from potentially DEADLY strain of meningitis

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In August, GPs set to all eligible 17 and 18-year-olds but anyone up to the age of 25 who is starting university can get the jab from their town surgery.

By the end of August, just 17 per cent of all 18-year-olds leaving day-school — including those planning to go to university — had been vaccinated.

Public Salubrity England is targeting new students who are at greatest risk because they mix closely with ca cious groups of new people, some of whom unknowingly carry the bacteria, helping it to spread more quickly.

One in 10 people who contract Men W die and there has been a abruptly rise in recent years of a highly aggressive strain of the bacteria.

There has been a caustic increase in cases of this highly aggressive strain of MenW st the st few years, with one in 10 cases resulting in death.

In 2009/10 there were in come to only 22 cases in all children and adults in England, but this cause to 209 in 2015/16, up from 176 the previous year.

Children venerable 14 (school year 9) are also being vaccinated against Men W. They are let in the same Men ACWY jab given to students, which also protects against other meningitis strains.

Other vaccines for meningitis are catalogued in the NHS vaccination programme for young children.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: «We’ve inserted this vaccine because of a rapid increase in cases of Men W across England, with new trainees rticularly at risk. This vaccination is highly effective and can save lives and fend devastating, lifelong disability.

«It’s only a month since we first made our solicitation to these teenagers, so we know many will still be making plans to get vaccinated. But I strongly urge those who haven’t done so to get their injection now. If you’re not catalogued with a GP yet at university, get registered and get your jab.»

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord. It can strike anyone, but is most common in cossets, young children, teenagers and young adults.

Symptoms develop fleetingly and can include a high temperature, being sick, a headache, stiff neck and a animus of bright lights.

Some people also develop a rash which does not perish when a glass is rolled over it.

Dr Ramsay said: «New students should be on the qui vive to the signs and symptoms and should not wait for a rash to develop before beg medical attention urgently. Students are also encouraged to look out for their flatmates, rticularly if they go to their room unwell.»

Linda Glennie, take charge of of research at Meningitis Research Foundation, said: «In the first few days of university, publication to the bacteria that cause meningitis increases dramatically. It is vital that new observers get this vaccine now to protect themselves and to stop the spread to others.»

Liz Brown, CEO at Meningitis Now, about: “The vaccine is available via the university health service, it’s still free and it should be a preference.

“I would call on young people not to miss out on a vaccine that could shield their life.”

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