The University of Surrey has launched a meningitis vaccination programme after a student died amid an outbreak of the infection on campus.
First year physics student John Igboanugo died earlier this month as a result of the meningitis B infection while on a trip to Italy with the institution’s American football team.
Two other students at the university have also been diagnosed with the disease since the end of March.
According to Surrey University, the pair are now “recovering well” after being hospitalised.
Working with Public Health England, the uni has now started a vaccination programme to halt the spread of the infection on campus.
The scheme will see undergraduate students living in halls of residence - around 4,200 people - offered the MenB vaccine.
Vice chancellor Professor Max Lu said: “We are greatly saddened by the death of our student, and our hearts go out to his family and friends during what continues to be a very difficult time.
“The health and wellbeing of everyone on campus is of the utmost importance. We are working closely with PHE on a targeted vaccination programme and are reassured that the risk to staff, students and visitors is still very low.”
According to the NHS website, meningitis is an infection of the “protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord”.
If not treated quickly, it can cause life-threatening blood poisoning and lead to permanent brain damage.
While the disease can affect anyone, it is most common in babies, children, teens and young adults.
Some of the symptoms of the infection include a rash, a high temperature, a stiff neck and a headache.
But Professor Kamila Hawthorne, associate dean for medicine at the university, warned students not to panic.
“We appreciate that when cases of meningitis B occur there is increased concern about the potential spread, but evidence shows that meningococcal infection is not highly contagious, comparatively rare and the risk to the wider community remains very low,” she said.
“Only people who have prolonged, close contact with an ill person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell.
“If anyone is in any doubt or are concerned about their health, or the health of others, please call NHS 111 urgently.”
Igboanugo’s friends and coursemates have raised almost £4,000 through crowd-funding for a memorial to the young athlete on campus.
“John was one of the kindest and loveliest people any of us have ever had the privilege to know,” the GoFundMe page reads.
“He always had a smile and never had a bad word to say. He was taken far too soon.”