Meningitis and Other Recommended Immunizations
Meningitis Vaccination Requirement
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, state law (Senate Bill 62) requires that students under age 22 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 more information on this requirement, click here.
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
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eyes sensitive to light
- Red pin-point rash or purple blotches on skin
- Confusion, sleepiness or lethargy
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.
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 and men up to 26 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.