Meningitis Immunization Program Comes to Colorado State University

Colorado State University students will have an opportunity to participate in the Meningitis Immunization Program from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Middle and West Ballrooms of the Lory Student Center on campus.

The program is sponsored by the university and cost is $75 per immunization. Cost can be billed to the student’s account or to a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express).

"While there have been no meningococcal meningitis cases on the Colorado State University campus this year, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide the vaccine as a preventative measure," said Dr. Jane Higgins, a physician at University Health Services.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. The infection can lead to permanent disabilities such as hearing loss and brain damage. Even with treatment, 10 percent of people with the infection die each year.

The infection is spread by direct contact with infected individuals through kissing or sharing a glass or cigarette, coughing or sneezing.

College students are at greater risk of contracting the disease than the general public because they live and work in close proximity to each other in residence halls and classrooms. Smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, excessive alcohol consumption and public exposure all increase the chance of infection.

Vaccination can provide protection against four of the five strains of the disease. These four strains cause nearly 70 percent of meningococcal meningitis cases on college campuses each year. Protection from meningococcal disease after receiving the vaccine lasts three to five years.