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Wednesday, November 25, 1998 Published at 19:31 GMT


Meningitis strikes again at university

Southampton University: Two students have meningitis

Two students have contracted meningitis at a university where three people died from the disease last year.

A female first year student, who lives in a hall of residence at Southampton University, and a male third year student, who lives at home, are both being treated in hospital.

Their condition is reported to be "non-critical".

Three women students at the university died last year and three male undergraduates spent days in hospital recovering from the disease.

The new cases come despite an unprecedented campaign to stamp out the disease on campus by the college.

Following the deaths last year all 4,000 students joining the university this term were offered vaccination against the bacterial C strain of meningitis.

The vast majority took up the offer, but immunisation is only 80% effective.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Howard Newby said today: "We very much hope that both students will continue their recovery.

"Awareness of meningitis is already high at the university, but we will continue our efforts to ensure that students and staff are fully informed of the symptoms of the disease."

'Extremely unfortunate'

University spokeswoman Joyce Lewis added: "It is extremely unfortunate that two students have the disease despite all our efforts."

The female student is at Southampton General Hospital and the male student is at a hospital outside the county.

"The students have bacterial meningitis, but it is not yet known which strain they are suffering from," she added.

The university has already identified a "small number" of students who have had physical contact with the two patients in the past seven days.

Students are being warned to ensure that they are familiar with the symptoms and to look out for friends who seem unwell.

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