Meningitis is an infection and inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Although the disease is quite rare, the outbreak at Princeton University and other campuses across the US has raised some concern.
Meningitis can be caused by a number of culprits, including viruses and bacteria. Bacterial meningitis is contagious and spread by contact with saliva, feces and respiratory and throat secretions. This means you cannot get meningitis from casual contact, such as breathing the same air as an infected person. But you can get it from close or prolonged contact, such as kissing, sharing objects that are put in the mouth, close living quarters.
Although there are no vaccines for the most common cause of viral infections, the CDC recommends a meningococcal vaccine for all children 11 to 18. The vaccine is routinely given at ages 11 and 12, but it is also recommended for certain categories of people, including students living in dormitories who are in close contact with other students.
Good personal hygiene and VACCINATION can help prevent the spread of disease:
- Don't share food, glasses, water bottles, or eating utensils.
- Don't share tissues or towels.
- Don't share lip-gloss or lipstick.
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Stay at home when wick and avoid people who are ill
- Maintain a healthy immune system-eat a well-balanced meal, sleep, exercise
University Health and Counseling Services offers the meningitis vaccine to all students for $135.00. Please call to make an appointment.
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