Texas Sticks College Students With Meningitis Vaccine

By Julie Tam
|  Friday, Jul 23, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 PM CDT
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A Good Shot in the Arm

NBCDFW.com

College students who live in close quarters such as dorms can easily contract meningitis, which is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

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A Good Shot in the Arm

College students who plan to live on campus for the first time, have a new requirement this fall. A new Texas law requires them to get the meningitis vaccine before moving in.
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A new Texas law requires college students who plan to live on campus for the first time to get a bacterial-meningitis vaccine before moving in.

College students who live in close quarters such as dorms can easily contract meningitis, which is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

"It's through droplets, so either respiratory droplets, saliva or other respiratory secretions," said Dr. Wendy Chung, the Dallas County Health Department's chief epidemiologist. "The warning signs would include headache, along with a high fever and any neck stiffness."

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. Bacterial meningitis can result in brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.

Many students got their doses at the Dallas County Health Department on Friday.

Amber Brown, who is about to start her first year at Tyler Junior College, said she is willing to endure a few moments of pain despite being scared of getting shots.

"I'm afraid of catching anything. Who wants to catch a virus or anything?" she said.

Fewer than five people in Dallas County get meningitis each year. But one of them usually dies.

"I think that's a good idea to keep the dorms and students healthy," said Kalisha Brown, who will soon be a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. "And that's one less thing to worry about."

The vaccine takes about 10 days to take effect.

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