Bacterial Meningitis Information
The law (SB 1107) became effective on May 27, 2011 and requires that all entering or returning students under the age of 30 as of the university’s first day of class must be immunized against bacterial meningitis. The vaccine or a booster must have been received no earlier than five years and no later than 10 days prior to the first day of class.
Please see your primary care physician or healthcare provider for the immunization to ensure that your daughter/son will be able to move into campus housing on move-in day. This vaccine is also available, free/low cost, at city/county public health departments.
WHAT IS MENINGITIS?
Meningococcal meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis, is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacterium that causes meningococcal meningitis can also infect the blood. Although rare, this disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, of those, 100 to 125 live on college campuses.
What can help prevent the disease?
Vaccinations are effective against four of the five most common types that cause 70 percent of meningococcal disease in the U.S. Vaccinations take seven to 10 days to become effective, with protection lasting three to five years.
What are the symptoms?
• High Fever • Vomiting • Stiff Neck • Severe Headache • Light sensitivity • Rash or purple patches on skin • Nausea • Confusion and sleepiness • Seizures
How is meningococcal meningitis diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
How is the disease transmitted?
The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.
What increases the risk of getting meningococcal meningitis?
• Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
• Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).
• First time college students who live in dormitories are at higher risk for meningococcal disease compared to other people of the same age.
What are the possible consequences of the disease?
Death (which can occur as quickly as 8 to 24 hours), Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation, Permanent brain damage, Gangrene, Kidney failure, Coma, Learning disability, Convulsions, Hearing loss, Blindness.
Can the disease be treated?
Antibiotic treatment, if received early, may save lives and increase the chance of recovery. However, permanent disability or death can still occur despite early and appropriate treatment.
How can I find out more information?
• Contact your own health care provider.
• Contact your local or regional Texas Department of Health office at 888-963-7111
• Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 800-311-3435
• Contact the American College Health Association at 410-859-1500