Meningitis C and Mumps
Both of these diseases can be a problem for students and we would advise you to ensure that you are immunised against them prior to coming to University.
Meningitis C: Meningococcal infection is a serious illness caused by a bacterium known as meningococcus.
The UK was the first country to introduce the meningitis C (MenC) vaccine. Since 1999, the MenC vaccine has been part of the routine childhood immunisation programme and uptake levels have been close to 90%. The programme, targeted at under-20 year olds, has been a huge success, with a 90% reduction in cases in that age group. However, young adults between 20 and 24 years of age and all first year university students are still at risk and should be vaccinated.
MenC is available to everyone under 25. While the risk of the disease is generally low in adults, there is a greater risk for people aged between 20 and 24.
Close contact in residential accommodation, such as student halls of residence, and schools can also give the opportunity for the spread of infection.
It is important that those people who are able to have the vaccination do so in order to protect themselves and those members of the community who are not able to have it as vaccination reduces the overall incidence of disease.
If you are in this age group and have had the new MenC vaccine before, at school or higher education, you will not need to have the vaccine again
We would advise you to get the vaccination prior to coming to University, as this will offer you protection right from the start of you stay here. If this is not possible, then you should ask advice from the doctor when you register locally.
Mumps is an acute viral disease that is spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. People who have mumps may spread the infection to others, even when they do not have any symptoms or their illness is mild.
There is a vaccine to protect against mumps. The vaccine is frequently given to adults as part of a combination vaccine, called the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.
There are continuing nationwide outbreaks of mumps in the UK. The outbreaks are occurring because a number of young adults are not protected against mumps; those born between 1983 and 1987, when the MMR vaccine was unavailable. Students are likely to be at greater risk than others in this age group because communal living is likely to help the spread of infection, particularly since mumps is infectious several days before any symptoms appear.
In general mumps is a mild illness but can be unpleasant and serious complications occur in a small number of cases. Complications include swelling of the ovaries, swelling of the testes; aseptic meningitis and deafness.
For further information see:
Mumps Factsheet - http://www.lancs.ac.uk/sbs/download/leaflets/Mumps.pdf
Health Protection Agency - http://www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/mumps/menu.htm
NHS Choices - http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mumps/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Note: It's good practice for all students to be fully immunised in accordance with the recommendations of the Department of Health. We strongly recommend that all first year students check their vaccination status before arrival at Lancaster. Students should be up to date with tetanus, polio, diphtheria, meningitis C and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).
All students are reminded of the requirement to register with a local doctor on arrival at Lancaster and those unable to obtain vaccinations prior to arrival should discuss this when they see their new doctor.