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Tributes for young student who died from suspected meningitis at university


University College Cork where the student was studying

University College Cork where the student was studying

Meningitis bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis)

Meningitis bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis)


University College Cork where the student was studying

Tributes have flooded in for University College Cork (UCC) student Grainne O'Donnell (21) who died from suspected meningitis.

Ms O'Donnell, from Cahir, Co Tipperary, was a third year Early Childhood Studies student at the Cork university.

College sources described her as a bright, intelligent and popular young woman who adored her course, her classmates and student life in Cork.

UCC Students Union issued a tribute simply saying that Ms O'Donnell had "passed away due to a brief illness."

The young Tipperary student died on Thursday morning.

"May we express our sympathy and condolences to Grainne's family and her fellow students and friends. May she rest in peace," UCC Students Union President Eolann Sheehan said.

UCC Students Union and the UCC Caplaincy service will now be providing transport for students who wish to attend Ms O'Donnell's funeral arrangements.

Counselling will also be provided for any of her friends or classmates that require it.


The symptoms of Meningitis

The symptoms of Meningitis

The symptoms of Meningitis

Ms O'Donnell will repose in her family home until Sunday morning.

She will then be removed to St Mary's Church in Cahir for 11.30am Requiem Mass.

Cahir GAA club also paid tribute to Grainne and called off their matches as a mark of respect.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Grainne O'Donnell. Cahir GAA Club would like to express our condolences to the family and extended family and our thoughts are with them at this very sad time."

A spokeswoman for the Meningitis Research Foundation said today it was saddened to hear of the death.

“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to her family and friends; our thoughts are with them at this extremely difficult time.”

It is unclear what strain of meningitis was involved.

Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.

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It shares many of the symptoms of other, more common, everyday illnesses such as the flu or even a hangover.

As a result it is vital that  people are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of the disease, particularly the symptoms that are more unique to meningitis, said a spokeswoman.

Because Meningitis develops so quickly it can be a particularly devastating disease for those affected. It can also have a resounding effect on the surrounding community.

Meningitis Research Foundation supports people affected by this disease through in-depth information and support.

“We want to make the public aware of the symptoms of meningitis so if anyone would like any further information or feels that they could benefit from talking to someone please call our Dublin office on: 01 819 6931, our Freefone Helpline on: 1800 41 33 44 or visit our web site www.meningitis.org.”

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