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March 3, 2014 | by  | in News |
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It’s Just a Little Prick

As the new academic year begins, students living in communal accommodation are reminded they are in a high-risk group for contracting meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial infection, can cause death or permanent disability. The bacteria that cause the disease can be transmitted by sneezing or coughing, making it easily spread among people living in close proximity, such as students in halls.

Jo Goodhew, Associate Minister of Health, has warned students not to assume they will be immune to meningococcal, even if they have been immunised in the past.

“The immunisation campaign in the 2000s was a short-term measure to end the epidemic of strain B of the meningococcal disease,” said Goodhew. However, in New Zealand, the C strain is responsible for just over half of the cases among teenagers and young adults.

Menigococcal is difficult to diagnose as early symptoms, such as fevers, headaches and joint or muscle pains, can be mistaken for influenza.

Dr Garry Brown, Medical Director at Student Health Services, said that Student Health endorses Ministry of Health recommendations that students get immunised.

“Students who want to get immunised should make a normal doctor’s appointment to discuss the options available and make an informed choice,” he said.

“We want students to know that the Student Health Service takes all health issues seriously and encourage them to take a look at our health guide online.”

The Student Health Services guide is available at http://www.victoria.ac.nz/studenthealth/. Information about meningococcal immunisation can be found at http://www.victoria.ac.nz/studenthealth/guide/meningitis.aspx.

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