Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain or spinal cord, and is usually caused from an infection. Meningitis is most often caused by bacteria or a virus. Bacterial meningitis can be extremely dangerous. Symptoms can come on suddenly and progress quickly. 10-15% of cases result in death. 1 in 5 people that survive will then live with permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss, kidney damage, or limb amputation.
College students are at a higher risk of contracting meningitis because of the close living quarters. Meningitis is spread by oral and nasal respiratory secretions during close contact like kissing or coughing on someone. Meningitis bacteria cannot live outside the body for very long so is not spread as easily as a cold virus. To prevent contracting Meningitis, you should receive the recommended vaccines, wash your hands, and cover your cough. There are 2 different types of Meningitis vaccines and you need both to ensure the most protection. No vaccine can guarantee 100% effectiveness, but can significantly reduce your risk of illness.
The first meningitis vaccine protects against serogroups A, C, W, and Y. The other protects against serogroup B. Depending on the brand, you may need 2 or 3 doses to be fully vaccinated. The immunizations are available at the Health Center. Contact the Health Center for more details.
Meningitis symptoms are similar to those of the flu, come on suddenly, and may become deadly fast. Treatment should be provided early with antibiotics. People who are in close contact with the infected person should also be treated as a precautionary measure.
For more information regarding meningitis, visit the Center for Disease Control websites:
Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can lead to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and even death. HBV is spread by contact with blood or other body fluids. Many people will have no symptoms when they develop the disease. The primary risk factors for Hepatitis B are sexual activity and injecting drug use.
Hepatitis B is completely preventable. A series of 3 doses of the vaccine is available to all age groups and is required for optimal protection. Missed doses may still be sought to complete the series if only one or two have been acquired. The HBV vaccine has a record of safety and is believed to confer lifelong immunity in most cases. Hepatitis B vaccine is very effective in preventing Hepatitis B virus infection. After receiving all three doses, the vaccine provides greater than 90% protection.
For more information regarding Hepatitis B, consult the Center for Disease Control website: