Loreto College is in mourning after the death of a 19-year-old former student from meningococcal disease on Wednesday night.
The Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the 19-year-old Ballarat woman died from invasive meningococcal disease.
The Courier has chosen not to name her for privacy reasons.
A family member, who did not wish to be identified, spoke of her warmth towards many in Ballarat.
“She was one of the kindest souls to walk this earth and didn't deserve this,” he said.
Loreto College principal Judith Potter said: “our school is in mourning”.
The woman was completing her studies at Australian Catholic University’s Ballarat campus.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said further testing was needed to confirm the type of meningococcal infection.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family at this tragic time and are respecting their privacy,” he said.
“The department is working closely with Ballarat Base Hospital, and is undertaking all necessary public health actions, which includes identifying close contacts and providing clearance antibiotics.
“We are also working with the Australian Catholic University and local schools to provide information to students and families.
“The risk to other students is very low.”
Victoria has had 23 confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal disease so far this year.
The state government’s Better Health Channel states meningococcal infection can develop very quickly.
“Meningococcal bacteria are only passed from person to person by regular close, prolonged household or intimate contact with infected secretions from the back of the nose and throat.”
Symptoms of invasive meningococcal disease in adults can include a fever, headaches, loss of appetite and neck stiffness.
For more information, head to this website.