Find out more information about Meningitis and the signs and symptoms of the disease.

What is Meningitis?

Signs and Symptoms

Download the "Know the signs and symptoms of meningitis" poster below for more information.

Meningitis Signs and Symptoms

The bacteria causing meningitis are spread by coughing, sneezing, and direct contact such as kissing. Outbreaks tend to occur where people live and work closely together which is why universities are particularly vulnerable.

Meningitis is a great problem for two reasons:

  • The disease can develop in a very short time
  • The earliest symptoms are very like a hangover or flu: vomiting, feeling feverish, joint pains/backache and a stiff neck.

More specific and more severe symptoms are:

  • severe dislike of light (photophobia)
  • severe headache
  • disorientation
  • a bruise-like rash which does not disappear when a glass is pressed against it
  • severe sleepiness
  • confusion

These would need URGENT MEDICAL HELP

If you are in any way concerned about any of these symptoms, seek medical help. Keep an eye on your friends as well and don't be afraid to ask how they are feeling.

Meningitis Vaccination Information

Meningitis is rare but life-threatening disease. As a young, first-time student mixing with large numbers of people on campus, there is a slight increase in the risk of developing it. Therefore the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland are advising that all first year or first-time University entrants aged up to 25 years are immunised with Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine.

For more information on the vaccination programme and what causes meningitis and its symptoms, see Immunisation Scotland's website, or you can telephone the NHS Inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88.

Please do not worry, as you are at no higher risk of catching meningitis at the University of Dundee than at any other university/college. The Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland are working to encourage you to be aware of your own health and take up the offer of vaccines available to you to reduce your risk of ill health whilst attending university.

What to do now

UK Students

If you are a UK student aged up to 25 years old, are starting your first year at university, and have not had the vaccine, arrange with your own GP to have the vaccine prior to coming to university.

If you are a UK student and have had the vaccine - great.

Once you have arrived in Dundee, you still need to register with a GP - you never know when you might need them. For information on how to register with a local GP, please see our page regarding this.


International Students

If the vaccine is available in your country, please arrange to have the vaccine prior to coming to the UK.

If the vaccine is unavailable, once you arrive in Dundee, register with a local GP (doctor) and ask if you meet the criteria for vaccination for Meningitis (MenACWY). For information on how to register with a local GP, please see our page regarding this.


Those requiring the vaccine after arrival in Dundee

Anyone who does not meet the vaccination criteria for NHS Scotland, if they wish, attend a pharmacy travel/vaccination clinic. The cost of the vaccine is currently approximately £50.

Two pharmacies in Dundee who provide this service are:


Superdrug - Wellgate Centre - Tel: 01382 224553

Boots The Chemist - High Street - Tel: 01382 229711


Please contact the University Health Service if you need any more information.