Information about Bacterial Meningitis
This information is being provided to all college
students in the state of Texas. Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially
deadly disease that can progress extremely fast – so take utmost caution. It is
an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria
that cause meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about
3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to
5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those
who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.
WHAT ARE THE
High fever • Severe headache • Rash or purple patches on
skin • Vomiting
sensitivity • Stiff
neck • Confusion
and sleepiness • Nausea • Lethargy • Seizures
There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots
caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. The
more symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek
immediate medical attention.
BACTERIAL MENINGITIS DIAGNOSED?
• Diagnosis is made by a
medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and
laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
• Early diagnosis and
treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
HOW IS THE
• The disease is transmitted
when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers,
utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory
or throat secretions.
HOW DO YOU
INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING BACTERIAL MENINGITIS?
• Exposure to saliva by
sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
• Living in close conditions
(such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).
WHAT ARE THE
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DISEASE?
• Death (in 8 to 24 hours
from perfectly well to dead) • Permanent brain damage
• Kidney failure • Learning disability • Hearing loss, blindness • Limb damage (fingers,
toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation • Gangrene • Coma • Convulsions
DISEASE BE TREATED?
• Antibiotic treatment, if
received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent
disability or death can still occur.
• Vaccinations are available
and should be considered for:
o Those living in close
o 25 years old or younger
• Vaccinations are effective
against 4 of the 5 most common bacterial types that cause 70% of the disease in
the U.S. (but does not protect against all types of meningitis).
• Vaccinations take 7-10
days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
• The cost of vaccine varies
so check with your health care provider.
• Vaccination is very safe –
most common side effects are redness and minor pain at injection site for up
to two days.
• Vaccination is available
at area convenient care locations such as HEB Redi Clinics, Walgreens, CVS
Minute Clinics and many other area urgent care locations.
HOW CAN I FIND
OUT MORE INFORMATION?
• Contact your own health
• Contact your Student
Health Center at 210-431-3919.
• Contact your local or
regional Texas Department of Health office.
web sites: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo; www.acha.org
To learn more about Travel Immunization needs: