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College struck by Meningitis

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Nov 11 2003 13:24

Alerts have gone out after an Imperial College student was taken to hospital with Meningitis.

Click Here for the Full Article

Nov 11 2003 13:37

The Health Centre bulletin is on-line here

2. Sam   
Nov 11 2003 14:00

Watch out for the rash... If you were drinking last night and you've got everything but that, you've probably got a hangover - it's your own fault and no-one at Chelsea and Westminister will have any sympathy...

3. n/a   
Nov 11 2003 14:15

but is it B or C? In short - the one without vaccine or the one that students can protect themselves against?

Either way, good luck to the student in question, and best wishes to get well!

Nov 11 2003 15:24

Please ignore Sam's comments. From what I remeber of the pre freshers week lecture the last person to die from it was suspected of having a hangover. If you wait for the rash it's too late

5. Sam   
Nov 11 2003 16:03


I clearly said "IF YOU'VE BEEN DRINKING LAST NIGHT". In which case it is millions of times more likely that you have a hangover than you have Meningitis. I was merely pointing out (in case some people were too stupid to notice) that the symptoms of Meningitis and the symptoms of a hangover are roughly the same, but i quite clearly said "IF YOU'VE BEEN DRINKING". If you haven't been drinking and you have at least 3 of the mentioned symptoms it's worth seeing a doctor - unfortunately without further tests, it's very difficult to distinguish early stages of Meningitis from the late stages of excess alcohol. However given that the number of times I have seen people in College with hangovers, and the number of people I know have caught Meninigitis here, it is statistically thousands, if not millions of times more likely that a student WITHOUT A RASH who HAS BEEN DRINKING simply has a hangover - so don't be a div, you know what i meant.

Nov 11 2003 16:27

You said "you've got everything but that". When have you been unable to touch your chest with your chin during a hangover?

Since someone has died when thinking they had a hangover it is a good idea to have a "High index of suspicion"

7. Sam   
Nov 11 2003 16:48

Actually, I get stiff necks after a hangover - in fact all my muscles tense up. Whether or not I can touch my chin to my chest I couldn't honestly tell you, however the similarity is close enough to be remarked upon.

You can have a high index of suspicion if you like, however I still maintain that within the Undergraduate population (certainly those in my hall) the changes of waking up with a hangover on any one morning far far far outweigh the odds of waking up with meningitis. The determinant factor is actually whether or not the individual in question has been out drinking the night before.

And whether someone died thinking they had a hangover is completely not the point. People have died from stepping out into the road in front of a bus - however they may at the time have been thinking about masturbating into a pair of used women's panties. Does that mean that anyone who does this should be suspicious of buses?

Nov 11 2003 17:22

sam, you're an idiot.

Nov 11 2003 18:20

Whoohooo!! Sam is blatently and indisputably wrong for once!

Nov 11 2003 19:00

'Watch out for the rash... If you were drinking last night and you've got everything but that, you've probably got a hangover - it's your own fault and no-one at Chelsea and Westminister will have any sympathy...'

Getting drunk has no relevance what so ever and is not appropriate. Is he suggesting we all wait for a rash to appear before we get worried......

11. Jon   
Nov 11 2003 19:10

Yeah you can wait for the rash, if you're a stupid 'tard...

Nov 11 2003 20:17

I agree totally!

Nov 11 2003 20:59

A close friend of mine died from the same strain of Meningitis that this poor lad has been rushed to hospital with.

He woke up early one morning to get ready for work, but felt extremely tired and a little unwell. As he was waking up at around 5.30am he thought nothing of it, phoned in sick and went back to bed. About midday he was feeling much much worse so his parents got the local GP to have a look. Fearing Meningitis he looked for the rash and for a severe dislike of light - no signs of either of these, so he was diagnosed with nothing more than a fever.

Next day he was rushed to hospital. He was far worse. I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure what they noticed at the hospital, but they were phoning people from Alder-Hey as they couldn't quite work out what was wrong with my mate. But it was clear it was very serious.

It must have been no more than 48 hours after he first felt off-colour that the doctors had to turn off his life support. I will not pretend to know how or why it happened so quickly or what this condition does to you exactly, but his limbs had been totally killed off and there was nothing the doctors could do to save him.

If you are going to wait for the ?tell-tale signs? (the rash, the dislike of light, the extreme drowsiness) then you will have serious problems should they appear. If at anytime soon you feel off-colour at all you should be aware, possibly even tell someone. Certainly tell someone if you live in Selkirk-Tizard. I?m not saying if you wake up with a cold you should run straight to the Medical Centre, maybe just let a warden (should you be in halls) know your condition and if you become any worse at all.

Please forget about waiting for the major signs before acting, if you feel ill at all then tell someone. My friend did not show the tell-tale signs other than the drowsiness, but as it was so early in the morning he, like most people would have done, just passed it off as a minor cold.

14. Sam   
Nov 12 2003 10:09

ok, if you want to misrepresent me fine, but i fear you are not completely reading my original post. Maybe it's because i used words of more than one syllable, who knows - i'll try to cater for all your levels next time. The follow-up post was a little less clear and basically a rant at people getting the wrong idea from my first one, hey - what's an online forum with flames?

I did not suggest you "wait for the rash". I suggested that the early symptoms of Meningitis and Hangovers are roughly the same, and hence if you had a few of the symptoms, but NOT the rash AND were drinking heavily the night before then the likelihood is that you have a hangover. That is not a medical opinion, it's a statistical fact.

Given that the first year that we had a meningitis scare i was a re-app in hall, and we had to campaign for Re-apps to be given the partial vaccine because non first years are not considered to be at risk and couple with the fact that i now live in halls, Meningitis probably affects me more that most.

However it is STILL statistically more likely that i wake up with a hangover than i wake up with meningitis, given that i might have been drinking the night before. Go look up conditional probability if you don't know what i mean. I think it's something like P(M) = P(M|D).P(D)/P(D|M) , but to be honest i find it better to do rough stats in my head than try and represent them on paper.

Even rough stats (or engineering approximations if you will) uses the information that less than 10 people per year are affected and there are 1500 people in hall. This means the chances of it being me or you (but not both) are less than 1.3%! (regardless of any symptoms displayed) Statistically i'm not worried... are you?

None of this affects the poor student who actually has it now, and i wish him/her all the best with their recovery. But i'm still not going to get frightened... sorry.

Nov 12 2003 11:14

keep digging that hole.......

Nov 12 2003 14:14

sorry sam - i think you're at the wrong university to get away with hiding your blatent wrongness with statistics - give it a break. You're WRONG. Dangerously wrong. No amount of probabilities can possibly help you.

17. Sam   
Nov 12 2003 14:34


How is the assertion that a student is more likely to wake up with a hangover than meningitis if they have been drinking the night before wrong? How can you possibly think that there are less cases of hangovers than there are of meningitis? Do you drink at all? I think you are at the wrong university completely as you have no grip on logic, reality or basic maths. Hell you don't even have the decency to supply a pseudonym, i really would like to see at least some kind of semblance of an identity behind such a bizarre view of the universe.

Let me repeat this again, and i will keep repeating this until you get it.

The probability of a student who has been drinking the night before, and has woken up with almost all the symptoms of Meningitis actually having it are statistically minor compared to the odds that same student has a hangover.

I didn't say you should disregard any symptoms, in fact i particularly told you to watch out for one dead giveaway. Nor did I actually say anything startlingly offensive or blatantly wrong. Although i am beginning to realise that most of you wouldn't care whether i did or not. You'll attack me because you thought i said something wrong, possibly because you're not clever enough to understand (there, i didn't say i wasn't going to get offensive) I simply pointed out that the symptoms of a hangover and the initial symptoms of meningitis are one and the same, and from experience i know that hospital A&E departments have very very little sympathy for hangovers.

18. Sam   
Nov 12 2003 14:37

And while we're on the subject of being wrong, you might want to take care with your spelling, as even i, with my rudimentary knowledge of statistics and "Blatent wrongness" know that there are two As and no Es in blatAnt

19. Sam   
Nov 12 2003 14:52

and "suprised", don't think you've got away with it... There are two R's in "suRprised".

Nov 12 2003 16:01

My god you are pathetic! Give your a**e a chance to breathe because that's what you're talking out of..

Just admit that what you initially said was c**p. No one could care less about your 'impressive' statistical analysis.

This is quite a serious issue and you've completely missed the point and I'm sure that everyone else would agree...we can't all be wrong, surely that would go against your statistical reasoning!

21. Sam   
Nov 12 2003 17:09

I actually think that what I originally posted is nothing more than an observation that Meningitis and Hangovers have fairly similar symptoms. I've reread it several times and mentioned it to the odd person and they seem to have got my gist. I could have been clearer, but I shouldn't have to use words of less than one syllable. Maybe you and I are just too different.

Personally I think you're somehow upset that I don't give a toss about health "scares" and perhaps feel that I'm not treating it seriously enough. Boohoo, cry me a river... Not everyone has respect for death or disease; I certainly treat it as an unavoidable consequence of life and therefore something to which one attaches risks and odds, nothing more.

I'm sorry you failed to grasp the point of my original post. I deeply apologise that you have misread something I wrote to mean something you thought. Please pardon your own ignorance.

Nov 12 2003 17:45

he's gonna pass out soon if he keeps this up.....

23. Sam   
Nov 12 2003 17:59

Actually, I'm fairly unfazed by this thread. I believe a few people have misinterpreted my comments, but to be honest I don't actually give a c**p about people disagreeing with me on Live!, it's only a website after all. It's more that today has been a bit of a slow day, so I've been using Live! to keep my interest level up.

It's not like you're the first people to disagree with me here, I have a long pedigree of posting and disagreeing with people on Live! (and even being rubbished in articles) While my views here are a subset of my real-life views, I don't tend to put much weight on online criticism, simply because "Anonymous Coward" type posts are essentially unverifiable, undebatable and uninteresting. Do feel free to email me with any specific debating points you feel like scoring, but if you actually want to be taken seriously you'll supply more than just an alias.

24. n/a   
Nov 12 2003 18:27

This discussion is wildly entertaining. A flamewar without Israel, Palestine, or Bush and Al Quaeda being mentioned at all! I'm impressed! ;-)

Anyway: This is one of those things were it may be better to err on the side of caution; i.e. it may be embarrassing to mistake a bad hangover for meningitis, but it's still better than mistaking meningitis for a bad hangover. The best solution, of course, is not to drink, which has the added advantage of not killing too many braincells ;-)

Anyway, I got vaccinated before I came here (although I admit that I never felt it was all that necessary - just like I wasn't quite sure why I should get vaccinated against hepatitis, but hey, anything to please the parents...), so I'm not in the least bit worried for myself.

Nov 12 2003 21:19

n/a - The young man in hospital is suffering with Meningitis B, which cannot be vaccinated against. But you're right not to be worried, this thing does not exactly spread like a cold. You need very close contact with someone to catch this thing.

And Sam, we all knew what you were saying in your first post. We can all argue about this, that, statistics for this that and the other, but there are more important things in the world than an internet message board.

Sorry to come across as a hippie trying to add some calm into the conversation, but hey guys.....chill!

And best wishes to the guy in hospital. We haven't heard much news from the hospital today, but the last we did hear was he's stable, but still very ill.

Nov 12 2003 21:35

this is in fact a very special DDoS attack against sam - he can't be doing anything but type today!

And perhaps Live! should add a spell checker to these postings so we could all rest easy knowing that we had correctly spelled stuff.

You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong.

This is just too much fun.

27. Sam   
Nov 13 2003 00:02

ARGGHH, while this thread has somewhat developed into a statistical/personal welfare c**pfest, I never thought it would descend into geekdom.

With the very mention of a Distributed Denial of Service attack, you have brought the conversation to new, and definitely less interesting levels.

However your fears are unfounded, as although I have been typing a huge amount, I have also done a large amount of productive (if boring) work. I've also been to an excellent exGuilds dinner for which kudos must go to the .uk

28. Nathan   
Nov 15 2003 05:56

Sam is correct in his statements. If we examine his posts, he seems quite intelligent. He is correct in saying that hangovers and early meningitis symptoms are similar. He is also correct in saying that it is more likely for a member of the drinking student population to be suffering from a hangover than meningitis. But it is a good idea to be aware of meningitis symptoms and inform a friend, etc, as necessary. Thank you for reading my e-mail.

Jan 10 2004 21:01

My twin sons both got meningitis which they now suufer from after affects. Thte first symptom of my first child was a stiff wrist the fever, my other son was a sore hip then fever. They did eventually get the rash but I didn't wait for it. The whole body becomes stiff. The neck took awhile to get stiff.

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