As the start of the fall college semester nears, parents and students should be aware of bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is usually a severe disease that can cause brain damage, hearing loss and other serious complications. It’s caused by inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Luckily, there are vaccines that can prevent it.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends college students and young adults between the ages of 19-24 get vaccinated against meningitis, as they are more susceptible since its spread by close physical contact. College students are more inclined to be living in close quarters and sharing personal items.
Last year, several universities experienced outbreaks on campus. Many states require incoming college students, especially those living on campus, to be vaccinated for meningitis before they are allowed to register for courses. Students who received their vaccinations before their 16th birthday are encouraged to get a booster dose before heading to college to ensure maximum protection.