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Bacterial Meningitis

Information about bacterial meningitis:

Meningococcal (bacterial) meningitis is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain. Symptoms of bacterial meningitis in order of frequency are: stiff neck, fever, headache, rash, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. The disease is transmitted through close, direct contact with the oral secretions of an infected person by sharing glasses or utensils, kissing, and coughing. Meningitis is rare in persons over 30 years old and is more common in the late winter and early spring.

Questions and answers:

  1. Am I at risk for getting the disease since I am a college student living in the dormitory?
    The studies and statistics would indicate that there is possibly a slight risk for a college freshman living in the dorm, but the greatest risk with college students is that of engaging in bar patronage, smoking, and excessive drinking.
  2. Should I get the meningococcal vaccine?
    You should discuss the subject with your parents or family, family physician, or you can discuss it with UMS physician before making a decision to get the vaccine.
  3. What are the risks of getting the vaccine?
    As many as half the people who get meningococcal vaccines have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given. If these problems occur, they usually last for one or two days. A small percentage of people who receive the vaccine develop a fever . According to the Centers for Disease Control, the risk of meningococcal vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small.

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