Student Health Services will be offering Meningococcal Meningitis vaccinations provided by Vaccess Health Services in the Johnson Hardwick Social Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 20, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Students who are interested need to register during that time and bring a valid student ID to gain access to the building.
“Come early and if it looks busy come back later,” said Dr. Ilene Moore of Student Health Services. According to Moore the entire process takes about 30 minutes.
The cost of the vaccination is $85 and can be billed to the student’s home address for an additional $10 processing fee or to a major credit card.
Meningococcal disease can occur as “meningitis,” an infection of the brain and spinal cord, or as the less common “meningococcemia,” which is an infection of the blood. Meningococcus meningitis can cause a total brain shut down. This type of meningitis is the most deadly and can kill in a matter of hours.
“The vaccination will help protect [students] from four of the five strains that cause Meningitis in this geographical area,” said Moore.
The four most prominent strains are A, C, Y and W-135. The vaccine guards against 85 percent of the strains in this area and lasts three to five years.
The disease can be transmitted and spread through casual contact such as kissing, sharing lipstick, utensils and drinking glasses.
Symptoms of meningitis include a headache, stiff neck, irritability and confusion. Left unattended, it could lead to a coma, seizure or death, according to a report in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Meningitis is diagnosed through a spinal tap, when a needle is inserted into the lower back and fluid from the spinal canal is extracted, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“Some people do fully recover, but you can also [die] within hours,” said Moore.
Moore said that Temple University has been lucky so far, reporting no cases of meningitis last year; although, other schools weren’t as fortunate. Last July a 21-year-old Penn State student died of the disease after being treated for flu-like symptoms.
The death of a 15-year-old Abington High School student in April of 2000 prompted the school district to have both the staff and the student body vaccinated, according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, college students are the second most susceptible, above infants, for contracting the disease.
Other risk factors include smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, alcohol consumption and bar patronage, according to Moore.
Moore said that even though the vaccination will not guard against 100 percent of the strains that cause meningococcal meningitis, for $85 it is a “cheap insurance policy.”
According to Moore, the disease is treated with antibiotics but medication usually does not help after the infection has developed.
“Often that even with the appropriate medical care [people who have meningitis] are already in shock and it’s hard to reverse shock.”
From September 1998 through August 1999, 90 cases of meningitis among college students were reported to the CDC.
Undergraduates accounted for 87 of these cases and 40 occurred among freshmen.
Of the 90 cases, eight students died.
The rate of contracting meningitis among all college students is about one in 100,000, but is almost five in 100,000 for freshmen living in dormitories.
Freshmen are at higher risk because of lack of exposure to the disease and dormitory living.