Teens urged to have meningitis jab before they start university

GPs will invite 17- and 18-year olds to have the menigitis vaccination
GPs will invite 17- and 18-year olds to have the menigitis vaccination
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Teenagers starting university this year are being urged to get the meningitis vaccination before they go.

The Public Health Suffolk team has welcomed the start of a new vaccination programme to protect teenagers against meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by meningococcal bacteria.

The team says new students are at increased risk because they are mixing closely with many new people, some of whom may be carrying meningococcal bacteria. GPs will be inviting 17- and 18-year-olds to have the vaccine.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Health said: “There are over 17,000 17- and 18-year-olds in Suffolk and I encourage all eligible teenagers to take-up the vaccination offer.

“Meningitis can be deadly and survivors can often be left with severe disabilities.”

First time university entrants aged 19 to 24 can also contact their GPs for the vaccination. This vaccine programme is in response to an increase in cases of a highly aggressive strain of meningococcal disease, group W, from 22 cases in 2009 to 117 in 2014.