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Meningitis

Vaccination Requirement and Recommended Immunizations

Recommended Immunizations

In addition to the recommended childhood immunizations, it is also recommended that students have two doses of measles(MMR) vaccine, a tetnus shot including diphtheria and acellular pertussis(Tdap) within the last 10 years and two doses of a varicella vaccine if the student has never had chicken pox. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for college students. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is recommended for unvaccinated women up to 26 years of age and men up to 21 years of age. Most of these vaccinations are available at the Student Health Center. Testing for infectious tuberculosis (TB) is recommended for students in areas were TB is prevalent, such as Southeast Asia, Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Russia.

Meningitis Vaccination Requirement

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, state law (Senate Bill 62) requires that students up to age 21 entering a public, private, or independent institution of higher education in Texas provide proof of immunization for bacterial meningitis. The vaccination or booster dose must have been received during the five years prior to enrollment and at least ten days before the start of classes. Students who have been previously enrolled at Texas State, and are enrolling following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester will be subject to the vaccination requirement. Students transferring from another institution of higher education will also be subject to the vaccination requirement.Texas State requires you to meet this requirement before you will be allowed to register for classes. 

* For step-by-step instructions of submitting proof of vaccination through Magnus SMR, please click here.

Exceptions to Vaccination Requirement

A student is not required to submit evidence of vaccination against bacterial meningitis if:
  • 22 years of age or older by the first day of the start of the semester
  • Enrolled only in online or other distance education courses
  • Enrolled in a continuing education course or program that is less than 360 contact hours, or continuing
       education corporate training
  • Enrolled in a dual credit course which is taught at a public or private K-12 facility not located on a higher
       education institution campus
  • Incarcerated in a Texas prison

Submitting Proof of Vaccination

Texas State is partnering with Magnus Health SMR for managing compliance with the meningitis vaccination requirement. New students (including those following a break in enrollment of at least one fall or spring semester) planning to enroll at Texas State must submit proof of meningitis vaccination directly to Magnus Health SMR. Students subject to the bacterial meningitis requirement will receive an e-mail from Magnus Health SMR with instructions. Students will be charged $10 by Magnus Health SMR for processing the documents and verifying compliance with the vaccination requirement. Acceptable evidence of vaccination may include any of the following:
  • A document bearing the signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee or public health
       personnel (must include the month, day and year the vaccination was administered.
  • An official immunization record from a state or local health authority (must include the month, day and
       year the vaccination was administered).
  • An official immunization record received from school officials, including a record from another state
       (must include the month, day and year the vaccination was administered).

For step-by-step instructions of submitting proof of vaccination through Magnus SMR, please click here.

Requesting an Exemption to the Vaccination Requirement

Students are encouraged to receive the meningitis vaccination because of the higher prevalence of this serious infection in adolescents and young adults. However, a student or the parent or guardian of a student may decline the meningitis vaccination for medical reasons, or for reasons of conscience. An exemption to the vaccination requirement may be requested by providing one of the following documents:
 
  • An affidavit or certificate signed by a physician registered and licensed to practice medicine in the
       United States stating that in the opinion of the physician, the required meningitis vaccination would be
       injurious to the health and well-being of the student.
  • An affidavit signed by the student stating that the student declines the meningitis vaccination for
       reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
    • Students must use the "Exemption from Immunizations for Reasons of Conscience Affidavit Form" from the Texas Department of State Health Services. To request this form, click here.   
  • The “Reasons of Conscience Affidavit Form” requested from the Department of State Health Services will be mailed and may take up to two weeks to be received. Please allow extra time for processing an exemption request. The original notarized form must be mailed to Magnus Health. These forms cannot be faxed or submitted online.

Where to get a Meningitis Vaccination

  • The Texas State Student Health Center offers meningococcal vaccinations. Call 512-245-2161
        to make an appointment in Nurse Clinic for the vaccination.
  • Private physicians, Pediatricians and Family Medicine in particular, often offer meningococcal vaccinations
       to their patients. Call your physician to ask about availability and cost of the vaccination. Check with your
       health insurance plan to determine if the meningococcal vaccination is covered.
  • Local county health departments offer meningococcal vaccinations at significantly reduced prices for those
       without health insurance or with limited financial resources. Call your local health department to get
       information about eligibility, vaccination clinic hours and cost.
  • The Hays County Personal Health Department will be able to offer the vaccine to patients under 19 years who do not have insurance coverage. The cost is $10 for patients who qualify for this program. Please call 512 393-5520, option 0 to verify that the vaccine is in stock before you go. Walk in immunization hours are Mondays 1-6 pm and Tuesday 1-4 pm. The Health Department is located at 401 A Broadway Street in San Marcos.

 

Meningococcal Vaccines

Meningococcal vaccines protect against four of the strains of meningococci that cause disease (A, C, Y and W-135). The vaccines are very effective and safe, but do not cover 100% of the strains that can cause meningococcal disease. Meningococcal vaccines available in the United States include:
 
Preferred vaccine for young adults and persons up to 55 years of age
  • Menactra 
  • Menveo   
Recommended vaccine for persons > 55 years of age
  • Menomune   
  • Meningovax
Persons vaccinated with any of the above meningococcal vaccines more than five years prior to enrolling as a new student at Texas State must receive a booster dose of either Menactra or Menveo. Studies have shown that protection from the vaccines diminishes significantly after five years.

About Meningococcal Meningitis

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Neisseria meningitidis is one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis in the United States. The highest rates of infection with Neisseria meningitidis occur in children less than 2 years of age and adolescents and young adults aged 14-24. Most cases of meningococcal meningitis are reported from December to March, but they can occur at any time. Meningococcal meningitis is a serious infection that can progress very rapidly in a matter of hours. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mortality rate for persons with meningococcal meningitis is 10-14%, but 11-19% of survivors suffer serious complications including loss of hearing, neurologic deficits and loss of limbs.
 
Meningococcal bacteria are present in the nose and throat of 5-10% of the population without causing the carrier any disease. However, the bacteria can be transmitted through close contact with others who are more vulnerable. Respiratory droplets or oral secretions from infected persons can spread the infection through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing food, drinks, eating utensils or cigarettes.
 

Meningococcal illness usually develops 3-4 days after exposure, but can occur 2-10 days after exposure. The illness can be difficult to diagnose in the first few hours because some of the symptoms can be mistaken for a viral infection. Meningococcal meningitis symptoms include:

 

  • Severe generalized headache
  • Neck stiffness/pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eyes sensitive to light
  • Red pin-point rash or purple blotches on skin
  • Confusion, sleepiness or lethargy
  • Seizures
 
Meningococcal meningitis is a medical emergency. It is treated with intravenous antibiotics and other medications in the hospital. Delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications or death.
 
Persons exposed to someone with meningococcal infection through close contact are usually treated with an antibiotic to help protect against infection. Antibiotics used for this purpose include Rocephin (injection), Ciprofloxacin (pill) or Rifampin (pill). These medications should be taken as soon as possible after an exposure.
 
For more information about meningitis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. You may also contact the Student Health Center at 512.245.2161.