A WARNING has been issued by a college following reports one of its students may have fallen ill with the potentially life-threatening illness meningitis.

Colchester Sixth Form College released a message to students and parents, saying staff are “currently working to ascertain the nature of the infection”.

The college, which has more than 3,000 students, said it was an isolated incident but wanted to warn parents at the earliest opportunity.

It issued parents with a list of symptoms to look out for in their children.

These symptoms can include sudden high fever, a stiff neck, severe headache, a rash, and sensitivity to light.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes which surround the brain and spinal cord.

It can affect anyone but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults.

Meningitis can have serious consequences if not treated quickly.

It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

A spokesman for the college in North Hill said: “We are only aware of one case, an isolated incident as far as we know.

“We have not as yet been informed whether it is a viral or bacterial meningitis.

“Students and parents have been informed on a precautionary basis.”

The spokesman said all students have had the opportunity to be vaccinated against Meningitis by the NHS at their secondary school.

They would have also had the vaccination at college in 2016 or 2017 and most students are, therefore, protected.

The spokesman added: “Specialist staff have been, and continue to be, in liaison with NHS staff and will advise students and parents if there are further cases or actions to take.”

A spokesman for the University of Essex said it did not know of any cases of meningitis and said it regularly updates students about vaccinations.

Anyone who is at all concerned about meningitis should seek immediate medical advice from their GP, a walk-in centre or NHS Direct on 111.