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Latest meningitis case confirmed as meningococcal disease

* 30 January 2004 *

Latest meningitis case confirmed as meningococcal disease

Blood tests have confirmed that a second student at the University of Sussex contracted meningococcal disease, a bacterial form of meningitis.

As previously reported, the 20-year-old was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton on Tuesday (January 27). She has today (Friday, January 30) been identified as having the group B strain of the disease. She has been successfully treated and is making a good recovery.

Local health protection and University teams are undertaking a thorough check to see if there are any direct links between the new case and that of the second-year student, who died last weekend and was subsequently found to have had the B strain. Further tests will reveal if the B strain in both cases is an identical genetic match. Meningococcal disease has already been ruled out for a suspected case that arose last week.

Dr Angela Iversen, consultant in communicable disease control at the Health Protection Agency, said: "Close contacts of both cases have been given antibiotics. In view of the fact that there have been two confirmed group B cases in students, antibiotics have also been given to a wider social group of each of the cases. Since the first suspected case was identified, 73 people have received antibiotics. We are keeping further public health action under close review."

Information reminding students of the need for vigilance has been distributed on campus and a helpline for staff, students and parents continues to operate.

* Notes for editors *

  1. It is highly unlikely that meningococcal disease was the cause of illness in the first reported suspected case, involving a first-year student admitted to hospital on January 19. Blood tests for meningococcal disease in this case were negative. That case is therefore no longer under consideration by the local health protection team. The student has recovered and is now out of hospital.
  2. The second-year student died at her family's local hospital in Carshalton, Surrey on January 24. Blood tests (reported on Tuesday January 27) show that she had the group B strain of the meningococcal bacteria.
  3. There is no available vaccine for the group B strain of the disease, which is the most common cause of meningitis in the UK
  4. Futher tests on the B strain samples will take about two weeks and involve a technique called DNA sequence typing.

Press Office contacts: Rob Read or Jacqui Bealing, University of Sussex,

Tel. 01273 678888, mobile: 07799 644 942, email:,

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