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Teens urged to get new meningitis jab

Students and teenagers across Britain will be offered the Men ACWY vaccine to protect them against the disease


The vaccine protects against meningitis and septicaemia caused by four different strains of the bug.

Doctors across the UK are encouraging 17 and 18-year-olds, as well as first-time students under 25, to protect themselves against the disease after a steep rise in MenW cases since 2009.

Experts say people in this group are particularly vulnerable because they tend to live in close contact in shared accommodation, such as university halls of residence.

The Meningitis W strain also has a higher death rate than other strains of the disease.

Public Health England has said it is important that those planning to go to university this year get vaccinated before they go as they will be mixing closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the bacteria.

The NHS website says the increase seems to be speeding up due to an aggressive strain of the bug.

The disease is said to be fatal in about 1 in 10 cases and can lead to long-term health problems, such as amputation, deafness, epilepsy and learning difficulties.

However, with early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment, most people who contract the disease make a full recovery.

Teens born between 1 September 1996 and 31 August 1997 will be invited by their doctor to receive the Men ACWY vaccine.

The jab has also been added to a routine schools vaccine programme for schoolchildren in years 9 or 10, alongside the 3-in-1 teenage booster, as a direct replacement for the Men C inoculation.

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