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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus Health urges meningitis vaccine

    Meningitis is a viral infection of the spinal and brain can be fatal. A recent case of meningitis at NAU has prompted UA Health officials to stress the importance of getting vaccinated.
    Meningitis is a viral infection of the spinal and brain can be fatal. A recent case of meningitis at NAU has prompted UA Health officials to stress the importance of getting vaccinated.

    Following the case of a Northern Arizona University student who contracted meningitis and was hospitalized last week, Campus Health Service officials are once again reiterating the importance of the meningitis vaccine, particularly for students who live in the close quarters of residence halls, fraternities or sororities.

    “”It’s a rare disease, but it is potentially life-threatening,”” said David Salafsky, coordinator for harm and risk reduction at Campus Health.

    Meningitis lives in the nose of carriers, who do not always have the disease, said Ken Komatsu, epidemiologist for the Arizona State Department of Health.

    “”It is usually spread in a droplet, when someone sneezes,”” Komatsu said. “”It acts very quickly and can go from bad to worse within a day.””

    Some colleges have already made the meningitis vaccination mandatory for incoming freshmen, much like required vaccinations for measles and rubella, Komatsu said, but at this time Arizona is not making the vaccination mandatory.

    “”It’s not mandatory at this point, but we strongly recommend that students obtain the vaccination,”” Komatsu said.

    The vaccination costs about $90 at Campus Health, and is a common precaution students take.

    “”We offer the vaccination year-round,”” said Judy Stivers, a nurse at campus health. “”Usually we get a lot of students who come in for the vaccination in the beginning and the end of each semester.””

    To the best of Salafsky’s knowledge, the UA has never had a student or staff member diagnosed with meningitis.

    “”It’s rare. I think typically there are less than a dozen fatalities at college campuses across the nation,”” he said.

    “”There is still a lot of discussion about the cost and effectiveness of the vaccination for students who are at an elevated risk, but those are the students that we want to see get the vaccine.””

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