TEENAGERS are being encouraged to vaccinate themselves against potentially fatal meningitis.

North Yorkshire County Council is urging youngsters - including students going to university for the first time - to take advantage of the free vaccine MenACWY.

Kathryn Ingold, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire, said: “Cases of meningitis and blood poisoning caused by a highly virulent strain of MenW bacteria have been rising over the past eight years and older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats. “

Vaccinations are being undertaken at schools but anyone who missed them should contact their GP.