Florida law now requires that post-secondary institutions provide detailed information concerning the risks associated with Meningococcal Meningitis and the availability, effectiveness, and known contraindications of any required or recommended vaccine to every student, or to the student’s parent if the student is a minor, who has been accepted for admission.
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness, caused by bacteria. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings.
Who is at risk?
About 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S. 10-15% of these people die, in spite of treatment with antibiotics.
Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but it is most common in infants and people with certain medical conditions. College freshman, particularly those who live in residence halls, have a slightly increased chance of contracting the disease.
Meningococcal vaccine can prevent 2 of the 3 important types of the disease in older children and adults. Drugs such as penicillin can be used to treat meningococcal infection. Still, about 1 out of evey 10 people who get the disease, dies from it, and many other are affected for life. This is why it is important that people with the highest risk for meningococcal disease get the vaccine.
For More Information on Meningococcal Disease:
Ask your doctor for a vaccine package insert.
Call your local or state health department’s immunization program.
Call the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1-800-232-2522.
Visit the National Center for Infectious Disease’s meningococcal disease website at: http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/index.html
Visit the National Immunization Program’s website at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/