Meningitis Vaccine

Students are required to receive the meningitis vaccine or sign a waiver prior to moving into on-campus housing.

As of August 2002, Pennsylvania state law requires that all students residing in campus owned facilities must either have received the meningitis vaccine or agree to the online waiver after having received information concerning the benefits of this vaccine.

Certain college students are at increased risk for meningococcal disease; potentially fatal bacterial infection commonly referred to as meningitis. In fact, students living in dorms are found to have a six-fold increased risk for the disease. The American College Health Association recommends that college students, particularly first-year students living in residence halls, learn more about meningitis and vaccination.

Pennsylvania has passed (Senate Bill 955) stating, "All students residing in a residence hall or housing unit must have the vaccine or sign a declination statement after having received information concerning the benefits of the meningitis vaccine."

Meningitis is rare. But when it strikes, this potentially fatal bacterial disease can lead to swelling of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal column as well as severe and permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, limb amputation and even death.

Meningococcal meningitis is spread through the air via respiratory secretions or close contact with an infected person. This can include coughing, sneezing, kissing or sharing items like utensils, cigarettes and drinking glasses.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis often resemble the flu and can include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash nausea, vomiting, lethargy and confusion.

Certain college students, particularly first-year students who live in dormitories or residence halls, have been found to have an increased risk for meningococcal meningitis. Other undergraduates can also consider vaccination to reduce their risk for the disease.