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Student, 19, spent 3 weeks in a coma and woke up paralysed after mistaking deadly meningitis for freshers’ flu

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Jemma Pressman, 19, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, thought her grogginess and stiff neck were signs of freshers’ flu. 

Doctors said she had mumps and sent her home for a week to recover – but she was rushed to hospital when she began being violently sick and suffering ‘indescribable’ pains in her head. 

There, she was diagnosed with meningitis Y – one of the rarest types of the infection- and encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.

She was put into an induced coma for three weeks and when she woke up, she was paralysed from the waist down (right). 

She spent the next eight months working tirelessly with physiotherapists to re-learn to breathe, speak and stand again (left and inset, with twin sister Leah). 

Now, she is campaigning to make more students aware of a vaccine that protects against meningitis. She said: ‘I know things could have been so different for me if the vaccine had been available, so now I’m really passionate about preventing it happening to others.’

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