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Guidelines on Institutional Response to Meningococcal Meningitis

Morehead State University provides this information about Meningococcal meningitis disease consistent with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to all freshmen and students living in resident housing. The Director of Counseling and Health Services is responsible for monitoring the University’s compliance to KRS 164.2865 and KRS 164.2867. 


College Students at Special Risk

Overall, cases of this disease among adolescents and young adults have increased by nearly 60 percent since the early 1990s. Lifestyle factors common among college students seem to be linked to the disease: crowded living situations such as dormitories, going to bars, smoking, and irregular sleep habits. Freshmen living in dormitories are up to six times more likely to get the disease than other people.

College Student Immunization Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American College Health Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that: College students and their parents should be told about the risk of meningococcal meningitis and the benefits of immunization. The vaccine should be made available to students who ask to be immunized.

Find Out More

For more information about meningococcal meningitis and the vaccine that can help prevent it, visit the following websites:
National Meningitis Association,  
Meningitis Foundation of America,  
American College Health Association,  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
For medical advice about the meningococcal vaccine, consult your physician, college health service, or local public health department.

Be Alert: Early Flu-Like Symptoms

Meningococcal meningitis is often misdiagnosed because its early signs are much like those of the flu or migraines.
Symptoms may include high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion. Later, after the disease has taken hold, a rash may appear. If any of these symptoms are present and are unusually sudden and severe, call a physician or the college student health center. Don’t wait.

How Meningitis Is Spread

The disease is spread through air droplets and direct contact with someone who’s infected. That includes: coughing, kissing, and sharing cigarettes, utensils, cups, or lip balm – anything an infected person touches with his or her mouth. Students can reduce their risk by considering vaccination and/or by not sharing certain things: utensils, beverages, cigarettes, etc. Most cases occur in late winter or early spring when college students are away at school.

Consider Vaccination

Immunization can prevent up to 80 percent of meningococcal meningitis cases in adolescents and young adults: The vaccine is safe and effective against four of the five types of the bacteria responsible for meningococcal meningitis in the United States and for the majority of cases in the college-age population. As with all vaccines, there may be minor reactions (pain and redness at the injection site or a mild fever).
Information Source: National Meningitis Association



The text presented on Meningitis is for informational purposes. Do not use this information to diagnosis or treat a health problem. Consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns in connection with information presented. Information is presented on vaccines so you can make an informed decision regarding vaccination.