From Student Health Service
The University of St. Thomas Student Health Service has meningitis vaccinations available. The cost is $70 and can be billed to student accounts. Please call (651) 962-6750 to schedule an appointment.
Here’s what university students need to know about meningitis:
What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It can cause meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings, and blood infections. Drugs such as penicillin can be used to treat these infections.
About 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the United States. About 10-15 percent of these people die. Of those who recover, 10 percent experience serious long-term effects such as hearing loss, diminished mental capacity, loss of fingers or toes, seizures and other nervous system problems.
How does meningococcal disease spread?
Meningococcal disease is spread by close or direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat. Kissing, sharing silverware, drinking directly from the same container, sharing a cigarette or lipstick, and coughing are examples of how meningococcal disease spreads.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis, a form of meningococcal disease, can include a high fever, headache, a very stiff neck, confusion, nausea, sensitivity to light, vomiting, and exhaustion. A rash may also develop.
You may become seriously ill very quickly, so contact your student health service or health care provider immediately if you have two or more of these symptoms.
How can I protect myself from getting meningococcal disease?
Wash your hands often and avoid sharing forks, spoons, drinking containers, lipstick and smoking materials. There is also a vaccine that can prevent meningococcal disease.
Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but college freshmen living in residential housing are at increased risk and should seriously consider getting immunized.
What should I know about the meningococcal vaccine?
The vaccine is highly effective (85-100 percent) at preventing four of the major strains of bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis on college campuses. There is one other strain that circulates that is not included in the vaccine.
For most university students, only one dose of the vaccine is needed. The vaccine protects for about three to five years. Immunity develops within seven to 10 days after vaccination.
A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of the meningococcal vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small. Getting the meningococcal vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.
How can I learn more about meningococcal disease and the meningococcal vaccine?
Call the University of St. Thomas Student Health Service to inquire about vaccination: (651) 962-6750.
More information may be found on the Web.