Thursday 22 August 2019

'Outbreak' of sexually transmitted diseases on university campus

The gym on the University of Limerick campus (Photo: Google Maps)
The gym on the University of Limerick campus (Photo: Google Maps)

Wayne O'Connor and Cathal McMahon

A university has been forced to issue a warning to all students after an outbreak of Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia on campus.

University of Limerick took the unusual step of issuing an email to all students this morning warning them of the potential dangers.

The mail, seen by Independent.ie, reads: "The Student Health Centre has been notified that there is an outbreak of Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia on campus.  These are sexually transmitted diseases as a result of unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex.

"It is possible to have these conditions without having any type of symptoms.

The email, sent by Dr Ronan Ryder, warns: "If you have had unprotected sex or have any concerns we would strongly advise you to contact the Student Health Centre or your G.P."

The Student Health Centre confirmed it will provide investigations and treatment on site.

In a statement the University confirmed that they are working closely with the HSE following the identification of an increase in the number of students presenting with gonorrhoea and/or chlamydia to the UL Student Health Centre

"As is best practice, UL has rolled out an awareness campaign contacting every student directly. In accordance with HSE protocols students are being urged to present to the STI and/or the GP clinics run by the UL Student Health Centre should they have concerns with regard to any element of their health and to get the necessary treatment.

"All students who present are currently being seen with or without an appointment and UL will continue to work closely with the HSE to ensure all awareness and treatment protocols are fully adhered to."

Independent.ie understands that around 10 cases have been reported on campus in the last two weeks. This constitutes an outbreak under HSE guidelines.

Dr Bernadette Walsh, Director of Student Services at UL, said this year, the Student Health Centre had been proactively screening for STIs and this may account for the increased levels of detection.

"According to the most up-to-date figures that we have access to, there have been 97 cases of gonorrhoea in counties Clare, Limerick and Tipperary during 2016. 14 of these are associated with this campus, which consists of approximately 15,000 students.

"We have taken the proactive step, working closely with the HSE, of sending out a strongly-worded message to our student community alerting them to this public health issue because we take the wellbeing of our students very seriously.

"The health of all students is paramount. Therefore, we would advise any student who may have a concern about any element of their mental or physical health to seek appropriate medical treatment.”

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