MENINGITIS IN COLLEGE STUDENTS
Q & A
Q:  
What is Meningitis and Meningococcal infection?
MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS is a rare but potentially dangerous illness that can be caused by either viruses or bacteria.  It can lead to dangerous inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord.
VIRAL MENINGITIS is the more common form of the two infections and is usually not as serious as the bacterial form. Patients usually recover with minimal treatment.
BACTERIAL MENINGITIS can cause serious illness with possible long-lasting effects on the nervous system or even death within 48 hours.  If diagnosed and treated early, meningitis is usually curable.
   
Q:
Can Meningitis be prevented through vaccination?
Vaccination does protect against some types (serogroups) of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis.  Vaccination protection is limited to strains A, C, Y and W-135 that cause 65-70 percent of the cases for this disease. Duration of the newer conjugate vaccine (Menactra) is thought to provide a minimum of 8 years protection.
   
Q:
What are the symptoms of Meningitis and Meningococcal infection?
First symptoms may appear to be typical of a regular cold or the flu , but there may be a rapid progression to the following warning symptoms:
  • SEVERE HEADACHE
  • STIFF NECK
  • EXTREME FATIGUE/LETHARGY
  • RASH
  • FEVER
  • NAUSEA
  • VOMITING
  • SENSITIVITY TO LIGHT
   
Q:
How is the disease transmitted?
Exposure is most likely to occur through intimate contact with the oral secretions of the infected person through kissing, sharing beverage containers, cigarettes or eating utensils and being exposed to droplet contamination from the nose or throat of a person with meningococcal disease. 
Please note: Students who know they have been exposed to someone diagnosed with or suspected of having bacterial meningitis should see a medical care provider immediately so that prophylactic antibiotic therapy may be considered.
   
Q:
Who is at risk?
Certain medical conditions increase the risk of infection.  The disease is more likely to occur among people whose immune system is not functioning properly.  Features of campus life, including dormitory living, consuming excessive alcohol, bar patronage, excessive stress and active and passive smoking may pose greater potential risks for college students.  This is why college students, who are normally experiencing a healthy stage of life, may be vulnerable to meningitis. 
   
Q:
What does the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend on this issue?
The ACIP recommends that college students, especially freshmen who live in or plan to live in dormitories or residence halls (a group identified in two 1998 CDC studies as being at slightly higher risk of meningococcal disease relative to other persons their age) consider getting the vaccine to reduce their risk. 
   
Q:
What does the American College Health Association recommend on this issue?
The American College Health Association (ACHA) recommends all first-year students living in residence halls receive the meningococcal vaccine. The ACHA recommendations further state that other college students under 25 years of age may choose to receive meningococcal vaccination to reduce their risk for the disease.
   
Q:
Where can I get the meningitis immunization?
The new conjugate vaccine is now available to all registered students for a fee at FAU Student Health Services.  Call 561-297-2276 for an appointment. 
   
Q:
Where can I find other information about meningococcal disease and its prevention?
Check the following web sites for further information:


FAU Campuses: Boca Raton/Davie/Dania Beach/Fort Lauderdale/Jupiter/Treasure Coast Boca Raton Campus Danie Beach Campus Davie Campus Fort Lauderdale Campus Harbor Branch Campus Jupiter Campus Treasure Campus
 Last Modified 11/4/13