MENINGITIS ON CAMPUS
Certain college students are at increased risk for meningococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection commonly referred to as meningitis.
In fact, freshmen living in dorms or residence halls are found to have a sixfold increased risk for the disease. A U.S. health advisory panel recommends that college students, particularly freshmen living in dorms, learn more about meningitis and vaccination.
What is meningococcal meningitis?
Meningitis is rare. But when it strikes, this potentially fatal bacterial disease can lead to swelling of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal column as well as severe and permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, limb amputation and even death.
How is it spread?
Meningococcal meningitis is spread through the air via respiratory secretions or close contact with an infected person. This can include coughing, sneezing, kissing or sharing items like utensils, cigarettes and drinking glasses.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis often resemble the flu and can include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, lethargy and confusion.
Who is at risk?
Certain college students, particularly freshmen who live in dormitories or residence halls, have been found to have an increased risk for meningococcal meningitis. Other undergraduates can also consider vaccination to reduce their risk for the disease.
Can meningitis be prevented?
Yes. A safe and effective vaccine is available to protect against four of the five most common strains of the disease. The vaccine provides protection for approximately three to five years. As with any vaccine, vaccination against meningitis may not protect 100 percent of all susceptible individuals.
For more information:
To learn more about meningitis and the vaccine, visit your local health care provider. You may also visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo, and the American College Health Association, www.acha.org.
All Cottey College students are required to receive the meningococcal vaccination before arrival on campus. Please note, the meningococcal vaccination is not available at Cottey College Health Services.