New Meningitis Vaccination Recommendation
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its recommendation on meningitis vaccination. The new recommendations includes routine vaccination of college freshmen living in dormitories.
The American College Health Association recommends that all university students, particularly freshmen living in dormitories/residence halls receive meningococcal vaccine information as part of their pre-matriculation preventive health program.
Meningitis is a disease caused by the bacterium Nisseria Meningitidis. It is a serious illness involving the brain and spinal cord and may lead to permanent disabilities and death. Meningitis is rare (less that 1 in 100,000 per year in the USA). However, the incidence is higher in certain populations, including university students between the ages of 15 and 24. Over the past ten years there have been several outbreaks on campuses across the United States including a number of deaths. Risk factors thought to increase the incidence of meningitis include dormitory living, active and passive smoking, bar patronage, and alcohol consumption. The Food and Drug administration recently approved a new meningitis vaccine called Menactra. Menactra offers protection up to 8 years, compared to 3-5 years for the current vaccine Menomune. Both Menomune and Menactra vaccine protect against four types of bacterium that cause meningitis - type A, C, Y, and W-135. these types account for nearly two-thirds of meningitis cases among college students.
The Student Health Service offers the meningococcal vaccine. Free doses from the Department of Health's Vaccine for Children program will be available to qualified students ( 17 or 18 years old with no health insurance, Native American, Alaskan Native, or enrolled in Hawaii's Quest insurance program). For students not eligible for the free vaccine, please check with your insurance company as some plans may cover the cost of the vaccine. Otherwise, the vaccine will cost $90.00 at the Health Service.
Please call the Health Service for more information about the meningitis vaccine at (808) 974-7636.