Meningococcal Talk to Your Doctor About
Meningitis Parents and students are encouraged
to learn more about meningococcal
meningitis and to talk to a physician
Possible to Prevent. about immunization.
Dangerous to Ignore. National Meningitis Association
The National Meningitis Association
(NMA) is a nonproﬁt organization
founded to inform families, medical
professionals, and others about the
dangers of meningococcal meningitis
and methods of prevention.
here is a rare but sometimes Its mission is to help ensure every
child is offered protection from the
deadly disease, called disease through vaccination programs;
meningococcal meningitis, that to support research and development
of improved meningitis vaccines and
strikes college students. treatments for people stricken by
meningitis; and to provide support to
survivors of meningococcal meningitis
The disease spreads quickly and and meningococcemia and their
within hours of the ﬁrst symptoms
For more information about NMA and
can cause organ failure, brain its activities, or to contact a member
damage, amputations of limbs,
of NMA, please call 1-866-FONE-NMA
(1-866-366-3662) or visit
Parents and students should Vaccinate.
learn more about meningococcal
meningitis and consider What Parents and Students
National Meningitis Association Need to Know.
immunization. Vaccination can
22910 Chestnut Road
prevent most cases of disease on Lexington Park, MD 20653
college campuses. www.nmaus.org
Facts About Meningococcal Meningitis Be Alert: Early Flu-Like Symptoms College Student Immunization
College students, particularly freshmen living Meningococcal meningitis is often misdiagnosed
in dormitories, have a higher risk of getting because its early signs are much like those of the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
this contagious disease. ﬂu or migraines. Symptoms may include high American College Health Association, and
fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that:
Each year, the disease strikes about 2,500 vomiting, and exhaustion.
Americans and 10 to 15 percent of them College students and their parents should
will die. Later, after the disease has taken hold, a rash be told about the risk of meningococcal
may appear. If any of these symptoms are meningitis and the beneﬁts of immunization.
Up to 20 percent of survivors have long-term present and are unusually sudden and severe,
disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing call a physician or the college student health The vaccine should be made available to
loss, or limb amputations. center. Don’t wait. students who ask to be immunized.
The disease can take one of two forms:
swelling of the membranes that surround
the brain and spinal cord, or the more
How Meningitis Is Spread
deadly meningococcemia, an infection of The disease is spread through air droplets and
the blood. direct contact with someone who’s infected.
That includes: coughing, kissing, and sharing
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by
cigarettes, utensils, cups, or lip balm – anything
bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis.
an infected person touches with his or her mouth.
Students can reduce their risk by considering
College Students at Special Risk vaccination and/or by not sharing certain things:
Overall, cases of this disease among adolescents utensils, beverages, cigarettes, etc.
and young adults have increased by nearly 60 Most cases occur in late winter or early spring
percent since the early 1990s. when college students are away at school.
Lifestyle factors common among college
Find Out More
students seem to be linked to the disease:
crowded living situations such as dormitories,
For more information about meningococcal
going to bars, smoking, and irregular Immunization can prevent up to 80 percent of meningitis and the vaccine that can help
sleep habits. meningococcal meningitis cases in adolescents prevent it, visit the following web sites:
and young adults:
Freshmen living in dormitories are up to six times National Meningitis Association,
more likely to get the disease than other people. The vaccine is safe and effective against four www.nmaus.org
of the ﬁve types of the bacteria responsible
for meningococcal meningitis in the United Meningitis Foundation of America,
States — and for the majority of cases in the www.musa.org
college-age population. American College Health Association,
Protection lasts approximately three to ﬁve www.acha.org
years, the length of time most students are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
away at college. www.cdc.gov
As with all vaccines, there may be minor For medical advice about the meningococcal
reactions (pain and redness at the injection vaccine, consult your physician, college health
site or a mild fever). service, or local public health department.