College students at high risk for meningitis - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/2/09

College students at high risk for meningitis

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By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock health officials are encouraging all college students to receive a bacterial Meningococcal Meningitis shot. With all of the attention on the Swine Flu, it is important to remember that meningitis is still around and should not be forgotten.  This is an illness that can cause a person to become severely ill very suddenly and could end up being fatal.

Ronda Cartwright, R.N., with the Lubbock Health Department said, "It's a bacterial infection and it can attack the lining around the outside of your brain, so anything that deals with your brain, that's what makes your body work. So you don't want bacteria there if you can protect it with a vaccine."

College students living in dormitories are particularly at high risk for meningitis because of the close living quarters and sharing of drinks which puts them at higher risk. Cartwright suggests that anyone who develops a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms with a stiff neck should see a doctor immediately to rule out meningitis. 

Texas made meningitis vaccines a requirement for seventh graders a few years ago, but this year there was a shortage in the vaccination supply, allowing parents extra time to get the shot this school year. Cartwright says the Lubbock Health Department is currently fully stocked with the vaccine, and all children should have all of their vaccinations taken care very soon.  If a child is still missing any of their vaccinations by October 1, they will be sent home from school.

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