What You Need to Know
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by a bacteria. The bacteria is carried in tiny droplets of respiratory secretions. It can be passed from person to person by kissing or sharing items like utensils, straws, beverage containers, toothbrushes, cigarettes, and pipes.
Common early symptoms of infection are high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Others may include rash, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Meningococcal infection progresses rapidly-early diagnosis and treatment is essential to effective treatment. If you are experiencing these symptoms, SEEK TREATMENT IMMEDIATELY.
People under the age of 20 are at the highest risk. College students living in dormitories have been found to be at greater risk than others because of close living quarters and more frequent use of shared items. Recent research suggests that students who are smokers or heavy drinkers are at even greater risk due to decreased immunity response.
Your best protection is to get immunized. Meningococcal vaccine can prevent 2 of the 3 important types of meningitis in older children and adults. ISU students may contact the Student Health Center at 282-2330 for additional information. The vaccine is also available at your local Health Department for an approximate cost of $90.00.