Q: What is Meningococcal Meningitis?
A: Meningococcal Meningitis is a potentially devastating illness caused by a bacteria called Neisseria Meningitidis. This bacteria can cause an infection in the lining of the brain and spinal cord, also known as "bacterial meningitis," or a serious infection in the bloodstream called septicemia. Neiseria Meningitidis is now the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults.
Q: How is it transmitted?
A: Some people carry the bacteria in their nose and throat without making them sick. They may pass it on to a susceptible person through close contact or droplets such as sneezing or coughing.
Q: Who is at risk?
A: Recently, there has been an increase in people aged 15-24 years old. Research suggests this may be due to the lifestyle of this age group. Some factors may include living in the residence halls, spending time in bars, too much drinking, and both active and passive smoking. Other factors may be stress and lack of sleep. Other people at risk include those who have a compromised immune system, or do not have a spleen.
Q: What are the symptoms of Meningococcal Meningitis?
A: Early symptoms are fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, and extreme fatigue and drowsiness.
Q: How can I protect myself?
A: A lifestyle that includes a good diet, at least eight hours of sleep a night, exercise, and limited alcohol can help you stay healthy. A safe and effective vaccine known as Menactra. This vaccine is indicated for active immunization of adolescents and adults 11 through 55 years of age, and provides immunity for four types of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease.
Q: What should I do if I'm a close contact of someone who has Meningococcal Meningitis?
A: People who are in close contact with someone who has Meningococcal Meningitis are usually given a one time dose of an antibiotic known as Cipro to get rid of the bacteria in the nose and throat of the carriers.
Q: Where can I get the vaccine?
A: Student Health Services offers the vaccine during our Walk-in Immunization Clinics.