News

HURRICANE HEALTHWATCH

Dear Hurricane,

I’m a freshman living on campus. My mom keeps nagging me about getting a meningitis vaccination. I’ve heard about meningitis, but I don’t know exactly what it is. Is it contagious? Is it transmitted through sex, saliva, cuts? OR is it airborne? Basically I want to know if I really need the vaccination or if my mother is overreacting.
-Confused in the Residential Colleges
Dear Confused,

Questions about meningitis always arise at the start of the fall semester. Meningitis is a rare but potentially fatal bacterial infection. The disease can occur either as Meningococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, or Meningococcemia, the presence of bacteria in the blood.
Each year, meningococcal meningitis strikes between one to three individuals for every 100,000 Americans. Studies indicate that freshman living in on-campus housing have a slightly greater risk of becoming infected. According to statistics, 100 to 125 cases of meningitis occur each year on college campuses; five to 15 students will die as a result.
Meningococcal bacteria are transmitted through the air via respiratory droplets and through direct contact with infected persons. Therefore, intimate contact, such as kissing, or sharing items that have been in your mouth such as cigarettes or drinking glasses increase an individual’s risk of becoming infected. In addition to intimate contact and dormitory living, the American College Health Association also identifies exposure to active/passive smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and bar patronage as risks for meningitis.
Symptoms resemble influenza (flu) and include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. It is important that students who experience two or more of these symptoms seek medical care immediately. The disease progresses rapidly, often in as little as twelve hours, and may lead to shock or death.
Methods of preventing meningitis are limited. Individuals should practice good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing. Stay clear of people who are coughing and sneezing. Avoid the behaviors that increase the chances of contracting meningitis (e.g., sharing cigarettes, utensils or drinking glasses).
Fortunately, a safe and effective vaccine is available to protect individuals against infection. Antibodies develop within two weeks after immunization and protection lasts for approximately three to five years. Vaccines are able to prevent approximately two-thirds of cases on college campuses. Student Health Services offers the immunization for $70 to all UM students. Shots are available on a walk-in basis; appointments are not necessary.
For more information on meningitis, visit the American College Health website at www.acha.org or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov. For more on the meningitis vaccine, please visit www.miami.edu/student-health, or call X8- 5927.
Do you have a question for Hurricane Health Watch? If so, please e-mail jtiberian@miami.edu.

Sincerely,
Lilly DeArmas

Lilly DeArmas is a sophomore majoring in biology. She works as a CHAMP counselor at the Wellness Center.

September 12, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Former NFL and University of Miami star Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday for numerous allege ...

Trevor Darling's perseverance paid off. After not being selected in the NFL Draft, the former U ...

Father's Day has never been a big holiday in the Larranaga household because basketball always ...

The start to former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Chad Thomas' NFL career is going through a m ...

At one section of Miami's Richmond Park, Hurricanes offensive line coach Stacy Searels taught a ...

A University of Miami lecturer explores the role of the front porch in black communities. ...

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, two public health sciences students traveled to Puerto Rico to ...

Colder Atlantic temperatures could change hurricane season forecasts, but the trend isn't expec ...

UM neurorehabilitation expert David S. Kushner, M.D., who helps modern patients recover from brain s ...

UM News interviewed a Miami Business School professor to learn more about claims that the changes co ...

An outstanding showing at the USATF Championships earned Symone Mason a trip to the World U20 Champi ...

The University of Miami track and field program got off to a strong start at the 2018 USATF Junior O ...

Amy Deem was recognized for the third time as the ACC Women's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of ...

Symone Mason, Tiara McMinn and Hasani Knight will be in the field of competitors at the 2018 USATF J ...

During the 2017-18 school year, Miami had student-athletes from 17 of the 32 countries in the FIFA W ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.