Bacterial Meningitis

Information Regarding Bacterial Meningitis

Important Information Regarding the Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination: Effective October 1, 2013, Texas Senate Bill 62 (SB 62), addendum to SB 1107 , requires all students (under age 22) entering an institution of higher education (public or private) to receive a vaccination against bacterial meningitis or meet certain criteria to decline the vaccination 10 days prior to the first day of the semester. To learn how to upload your documentation and/or for more information, click here. Please visit your healthcare provider, your local health clinic or a local pharmacy to learn about options for receiving the vaccination.

The following information is provided to all incoming college students in the state of Texas. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress quickly. Meningitis causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord and can also infect the blood. Each year approximately 3,000 Americans contract this disease. Of these, 100-125 cases occur on college campuses with anywhere from 5-15 resulting in death. While there is a treatment for this disease, those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities. To avoid this risk, every precaution should be observed.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
  • High Fever 
  • Rash or purpose patches on skin 
  • Light sensitivity
  • Confusion and sleepiness 
  • Lethargy
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting 
  • Stiff Neck
  • Nausea 
  • Seizures
There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. Additional symptoms can be indicative of higher risk. If these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.
HOW IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests. Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
HOW IS THE DISEASE TRANSMITTED?
The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.
HOW DO YOU INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?
 • Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
 • Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DISEASE?
  • Death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead) 
  • Convulsions
  • Hearing loss, blindness
  • Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
  • Coma 
  • Learning disability
  • Kidney failure
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Gangrene
CAN THE DISEASE BE TREATED?
• Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent disability or death can still occur.
• Vaccinations are available and should be considered for: Those living in close quarters and College students 25 years old or younger
• Vaccinations are effective against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in the U.S. (but does not protect against all types of meningitis).
• Vaccinations take 7-10 days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
• The cost of vaccine varies so check with your health provider.
• Vaccination is very safe; most common side effects are redness and minor pain at injection site for up to two days.
• Vaccination is available through Texas A&M University-Commerce Department of Student Health Services in Henderson Hall.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?
• Contact your own health care provider.
• Contact your Texas A&M University-Commerce Student Health Services at 903-886-5853.
• Hunt County Health Department Office at 903-408-4140. They are located in Greenville, TX.
• Contact web sites: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo; www.acha.org