An image of a syringe, vial, and anti-septic wipe.

The following is based on information provided by the North Yorkshire Health Protection Unit.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium. There are five main groups (A, B, C, W and Y) that cause the disease. Untreated, the bacteria can multiply rapidly in the bloodstream and become septicaemia.

What are the symptoms?

Students are reminded to be alert to the symptoms of meningitis. Classic symptoms, which may not all be present, include:

  • severe headache
  • dislike of bright light (photophobia)
  • neck stiffness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • confusion and drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • convulsions/seizures

Sometimes there will erupt a red/purple rash which does not fade on pressure, ie when viewed through a glass. The rash may rapidly spread to a bruise-like appearance. This is septicaemia and you should call a doctor immediately. Other symptoms of septicaemia are:

  • fever with cold hands and feet
  • joint or muscle pain
  • rapid breathing

In crisis now

Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.

Further Advice

Who to contact

  • Open 9am to 5pm, Mon - Thurs; 10am to 5pm, Fri (UG term-time)
    10am to 4pm, Mon - Fri (all other times)

How do I prevent it?

There has been a UK vaccination programme in recent years and most younger students will now have been vaccinated against the meningitis strain C. University students are also eligible for the Men ACWY vaccine.

If you have not been vaccinated it is advisable to discuss this with your doctor.

Meningitis is also commonly caused by another bacterium, strain B, so even amongst those who have been vaccinated continuing vigilance is necessary.

For illustrated leaflets, visit the Student Hub in Market Square or the University Health Centre.