UNC Student Health Services would like to make you aware of a vaccine available in the Student Health Center that can potentially prevent Meningococcal Meningitis.
The number of cases of Meningitis has risen on college campuses in recent years. Studies from outbreaks suggest that college students are more susceptible because they live and work in close proximity to each other in residence halls and classrooms. Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted through direct contact with a person already infected with the disease. Direct contact often occurs by exposure to air droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person and occurs with shared items, such as cigarettes or drinking glasses, or through intimate contact such as kissing.
Meningococcal Meningitis is a serious and potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can lead to permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, limb amputation, kidney and heart failure, and permanent brain damage. Each year, between 100 and 125 cases of Meningitis occur on college campuses and 5 to 15 college students die as a result.
The good news is that there is a safe, effective vaccine that can provide protection against four strains of Meningococcal disease and that vaccine is available at the Student Health Center. The four strains in the vaccine account for nearly 70% of the Meningococcal cases on campuses. The CDC recommends a booster dose for all college students if it has been 3 or more years since your last Meningitis vaccine.
When someone is diagnosed with Meningitis, it is not unusual for students to panic because they suddenly realize how rapidly the disease progresses and that they are, indeed, very vulnerable. To eliminate some of this fear and panic, make sure you are current on your vaccines.
If you have not gotten a Meningitis vaccine or if you are due for a booster, you can get this in the UNC Student Health Center, located in Cassidy Hall. The Student Health Center is currently offering this vaccine FREE of charge while supplies last. Please call 970-351-1919 for additional information and availability.
For more information, go to the Meningococcal Vaccine sheet by the Center for Disease Control.
Video Link: Princeton University students discuss recent Meningitis outbreak on campus.( Video- Courtesy of the Student Health Advisory Board, Princeton University.)