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Update on meningitis cases at the University of Sussex

* 25 January 2004 *

Update on meningitis cases at the University of Sussex

Students and staff at the University of Sussex are being offered support and advice following the death of a 20 year old second-year student from suspected meningococcal septicaemia. In the early hours of  Friday (January 23), the student was admitted to St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, Surrey, her family's local hospital, where she died late in the evening of Saturday (January 24).

Professor Alasdair Smith, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, said:  "We are greatly saddened by the loss and offer our heart-felt condolences to her family and friends. Our thoughts are with them. We want to reassure our students and staff that advice and support is available to them at this difficult time."

A first year student, who was separately admitted earlier in the week to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton with suspected meningococcal septicaemia, is now recovering well. 

There continues to be no evidence to link the two cases and the risk of a further case occurring is very small. Close contacts of the two students have already been identified and given antibiotics. 

Dr Peter Wilkinson of the local Health Protection Agency said:  "Students can be reassured that the risks of a further case are small, but they should remain alert to the symptoms, keep a close eye on anyone who is feeling unwell and seek medical advice if they are at all concerned."

In line with national guidance and with the support of the local Health Protection Agency, information and advice about meningococcal disease had already been circulated to students and staff.  And they are now being offered further advice and support today.  The student health centre on campus was also specially opened on Sunday morning.

Anyone with general concerns or worries regarding meningitis should called NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

* Notes for editors *

Press Office contacts: Rob Read  (Mob: 07799 644 942) or Maggie Clune (0771 535 7139) , University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456

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