Attention College Students and Young Adolescents:
Starting next year, all students entering college for the first time will have to
be vaccinated for meningitis.
What is meningococcal disease, and why is it dangerous?
Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that can cause meningitis--severe swelling of the brain and spinal cord and also sepsis--a dangerous and potentially life threatening blood infection.Meningococcal disease is very dangerous because it often begins with symptoms that can be mistaken for other common viral illnesseses such as the flu.
Why should you be concerned about meningococcal disease?
Although meningococcal disease is rare, adolescents and young adults are at increased risk and at an increased severity. Data indicates that meningococcal disease rates begin to rise during adolescence and peak between ages of 15-24 years.
Can meningococcal disease be prevented?
While antibiotics are routinely used to treat meningococcal disease following exposure to the bacteria, vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of getting this serious disease.
Is meningococcal vaccination recommended?
Guidelines asking physicians and other health-care professionals to inform college students and their parents about the dangers of meningococcal disease and to provide vaccination have been issued by:
In addition, the ACIP now recommends meningococcal vaccination for young adolescents (11 to 12 years old) and teenagers entering high school.
If my child has already received the meningococcal vaccination, do they need to get it again?
It is indicated that many adolescents may not be protected for more than 5 years after receiving the vaccine.Therefore, persons immunized at age 11 or 12 years might have decreased protective immunity by ages 16 through 21 years, when their risk for disease is greatest--resulting in the need for a second meningitis vaccine.