Student could ‘barely walk’ after freshers’ flu turned out to be meningitis

UK

A student could “barely walk” after what he thought was freshers’ flu turned out to be meningitis.

Levi Lawrence, 21, is a psychology student from Wolverhampton.

He fell seriously ill after he caught meningitis during his first term studying at Swansea University.

Public Health Wales has issued an appeal to new and returning students to check they are up to date with childhood vaccinations.

The health body says this will avoid serious illnesses such as meningitis, measles and septicaemia.

Mr Lawrence said he had been “feeling under the weather for a couple of weeks” and assumed he had “freshers’ flu”.

“One morning I woke up feeling really ill, I was vomiting and confused, and quickly got to the point that I couldn’t really speak and could barely walk,” he said.

More on Wales

“My housemate got me to the hospital quickly, and I believe that her quick actions saved my life.”

He spent 10 days in hospital with meningitis and sepsis and was “extremely ill”.

“It was a really scary time, I had problems with my legs which meant that I was on crutches for weeks afterwards and I still get electric shock-type pains in my legs now,” he added.

Read more:
Mum of teen who died from meningitis urges students to get vaccinated
Meningitis cases in England more than doubled in a year
Students warned not to mistake meningitis for bad hangover

UCAS says students should ideally get up to date with their vaccines before they arrive at their universities.

This is a message echoed by the NHS which says new university students are at a higher risk of infection as they mix closely with lots of new people.

The MenACWY vaccine protects against serious infections like meningitis and young people can ask a GP for a dose up until their 25th birthday.

The NHS says students about to start at college or university should also have had two doses of the MMR vaccine as there can be outbreaks of measles and mumps at universities.

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