Meningococcal disease or Meningitis is a rare but potentially fatal bacterial infection of the brain and spinal cord. About 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S. Of these people 10-20% die, in spite of treatment with antibiotics. College freshman, particularly those who live in dormitories, have a slightly increased risk of getting meningococcal disease. It is estimated that 125 to 175 cases of meningococcal disease occur annually on college campuses and 15 to 20 students die each year as a result. Pre-exposure vaccination reduces a student's risk of the disease.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American College Health Association (ACHA) recommend that parents and students be educated about meningococcal disease and the benefits of vaccination. They also recommend that colleges and universities provide easy access to immunization for students who wish to reduce their risk of contracting this potentially life-threatening disease.
MENACTRA, a safe and effective vaccine can help students substantially reduce their risk for this traumatic disease. The vaccine is 85-90% effective against the forms of meningitis that usually account for cases in college age students. There may be minor side effects from the vaccine, mainly mild pain and redness at the injection site.
Baldwin Wallace University Health Services provides access to the Meningitis vaccination to students. Even though in the last twenty years there has not been a documented case of a student with meningococcal disease at Baldwin Wallace University we feel it is important for parents and students to understand what meningococcal disease is and understand the benefits of vaccination. The vaccine is offered through the Health Center and the cost can be applied to the tuition bill, jacket express account or be paid by cash or check.