University students are a high-risk group. First years and those living in halls of residence are prone to contracting the disease because of their close proximity to each other; particularly in the first few weeks of term.

We advise all First Year students to contact their GP at home to get the Meningitis ACWY vaccination ideally at least 2 weeks before leaving home to start their first academic year. Any student who hasn't had their vaccination prior to starting University should contact the USW Health Service as soon as possible.

The Meningitis ACWY Vaccination protects against meningitis and septicaemia caused by four meningococcal strains - Men W, A, C and Y. and is free to all first year students under the age of 25 from a GP.

Check out a full list of signs and symptoms here or download the Meningitis Now app for help and information at your fingertips.

Symptoms can develop very quickly and can be very serious as this video from Meningitis Now shows

Be aware that meningitis symptoms can be mistaken for “freshers flu” so if in any doubt it is advisable to always seek medical help as soon as possible.

Watch the following video from Public Health Wales about a students' experience of contracting Meningitis W

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

Mumps outbreaks are common, especially in teenagers and young people. It's especially important for teenagers leaving home for University to be up-to-date with the MMR vaccine as they are at higher risk of mumps.

There have been confirmed cases at a number of UK universities recently amongst students who have not been vaccinated.

MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against 3 separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. The full course of MMR vaccination requires 2 doses. This NHS leaflet tells you about MMR vaccination.

You should contact your GP surgery before you leave for University if you are not sure if you have received any of these vaccinations.

International Students

If you are from outside the UK, you will need to be up to date with all immunisations as recommended by the UK Government's Department of Health.