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A fever, together with spots that do not fade under pressure - Image courtesy of Meningitis Trust, Dr Petter Brandtzæg
A rash that does not fade under pressure can be one of the symptoms of meningitis - Image courtesy of Meningitis Trust, Dr Petter Brandtzæg

Internal News - 17 February 2009

Please read! Suspected case of bacterial meningitis

A University of Bath student has been admitted to hospital suffering from suspected bacterial meningitis.

This notice is to explain what is happening as a result and, most importantly, to remind you of the symptoms of bacterial meningitis.

The germs that cause bacterial meningitis are carried in the back of the throat of about one in ten people at any one time, but rarely cause illness. Most people who carry the bacteria become immune to them.

The germs do not spread easily, but can be transferred from one person to another through secretions from the nose or throat during close contact.

The infection is not acquired simply by being in the same room as an infected person.

It is only those who have had close contact with a person who has bacterial meningitis who are at a small increased risk of contracting the disease. People who have not had such contact are unlikely to be at a higher risk or to require special treatment or investigation.

What the University is doing

The University has been working closely with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to identify people who may be at increased risk of the infection as a result of being close, usually household, contacts of the student concerned.

These individuals are being given advice and, where appropriate, antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection. Fortunately, the risk of developing the disease remains low even in this group of people.

The HPA has advised that there is no need to alter the normal University routine.


As at other times, we recommend that you watch closely for symptoms in yourself, your friends and your colleagues.

Early diagnosis and treatment are the best defence against this serious disease.

The symptoms of meningitis include:

Only some of these symptoms may show.

Remember that although you may have been vaccinated against the C strain of meningitis, the vaccine does not protect against other strains of the disease. It is therefore very important to remain vigilant whether you have been vaccinated or not.


If you are worried that you may have the symptoms of meningitis, or if you think you have observed them in someone else, seek immediate medical advice from your registered GP. If the situation appears to be an emergency, call 999.

More information about meningitis is available from the 24-hour national help lines of the meningitis charities and NHS Direct (See Related Links)


This notice is issued with the approval of the Health Protection Agency.