Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal disease also causes blood infections.
About 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the US, 10-15% of these people die, in spite of treatment with antibiotics. Of those who live, another 11-19% lose their arms or legs, become deaf, have problems with their nervous systems, become mentally retarded, or suffer seizures or strokes. 100 to 125 cases of meningococcal disease occurs annually on U.S. college campuses and 4 to 15 students die as a result.
There are five strains of N. meningitides that cause meningococcal disease. They are A, B, C, Y and W-135. Vaccines can prevent four strains, including 2 of the 3 types most common in the United States. Meningococcal vaccines cannot prevent all types of the disease. But they do protect many people who might become sick if they didn't get the vaccine. Vaccines protect about 90% of those who get it.
Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted through the air via droplets of respiratory secretion and direct contact. Oral contact with shared items such as cigarettes or drinking glasses or through intimate contact such as kissing could put a person at risk for acquiring the infection. Also, certain social behaviors such as smoking,excessive alcohol consumption and living in residence halls place students at a greater risk for contracting the meningitis infection.
The most common symptoms include high fever, headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, lethargy and/or rashes. Anyone with similar symptoms should contact a physician immediately. If not treated within hours of the onset of symptoms, the disease can progress rapidly.
VACCINATE, VACCINATE, VACCINATE!
Meningitis immunization information will be provided to you by Housing and Residential Life.
For additional information during business hours, please call (562) 985-4771 to speak with a CSULB Student Health Services staff member.