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Microsoft word - meningitis dearstudent- parent letter-ack form web1 .doc
INFORMATION ABOUT MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS
The State University of New York is writing to inform you about meningococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection commonly referred to as meningitis, and a new law in New York State. On July 22, 2003, Governor Pataki signed New York State Public Health Law (NYS PHL) §2167 requiring institutions, including colleges and universities, to distribute information about meningococcal disease and vaccination to all students meeting the enrollment criteria, whether they live on or off campus. This law is effective as of August 15, 2003.
Colleges in New York State are required to maintain a record of the following for each student:
A response to receipt of meningococcal disease and vaccine information signed by the student or student’s parent or guardian. This must include information on the availability and cost of meningococcal meningitis vaccine (Menomune™ or Menactra™); AND EITHER
A record of meningococcal meningitis immunization within the past 10 years; OR
An acknowledgement of meningococcal disease risks and refusal of meningococcal meningitis immunization signed by the student or student’s parent or guardian.
Meningitis is rare. However, when it strikes, its flu-like symptoms make diagnosis difficult. If not treated early, meningitis can lead to swelling of the 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.
Cases of meningitis among teens and young adults 15 to 24 years of age (the age of most college students) have more than doubled since 1991. The disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year and claims about 300 lives. Between 100 and 125 meningitis cases occur on college campuses and as many as 15 students will die from the disease.
A vaccine is available that protects against four types of the bacteria that cause meningitis in the United States types A, C, Y and W-135. These types account for nearly two thirds of meningitis cases among college students.
If you wish to receive the meningococcal meningitis vaccine (Menomune™or Menactra™), it is available either through your private health care provider, the campus health center and/or the county Department of Health. The cost of the vaccine usually ranges from $60.00 to $85.00. Please check with your campus health center for details.
Please make sure you complete and return the enclosed Meningococcal Meningitis Response
Form within 30 days of the beginning of the Fall 2003 Semester. Please note that according to
NYS Public Health Law, no institution shall permit any student to attend the institution in excess
of 30 days without complying with this law. The 30 day period may be extended to 60 days if a
student can show a good faith effort to comply.
To learn more about meningitis and the vaccine please see the enclosed Meningococcal Meningitis Fact Sheet, consult with your (child's) physician or contact the campus health service. You can also find information about the disease at the New York State Department of Health Website: WWW.HEALTH.STATE.NY.US, website of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): WWW.CDC.GOV/NCIDOD/DBMD/DISEASEINFO, and the American College Health Association (ACHA) Website: WWW.ACHA.ORG.
MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS FACT SHEET
WHAT IS MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS?
Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of
the bloodstream or meninges (a thin lining covering the brain and spinal cord). It is a relatively rare
disease and usually occurs as a single isolated event. Clusters of cases or outbreaks are rare in the
HOW IS THE GERM MENINGOCOCCUS SPREAD?
Meningococcal disease is transmitted through the
air via droplets of respiratory secretions and direct contact with an infected person. Direct contact, for
these purposes, is defined as oral contact with shared items such as cigarettes or drinking glasses or
through intimate contact such as kissing. Although anyone can come in contact with the bacteria that
causes meningococcal disease, data also indicates certain social behaviors, such as exposure to passive
and active smoking, bar patronage, and excessive alcohol consumption, may put students at increased
risk for the disease. Patients with respiratory infections, compromised immunity, those in close contact to
a known case, and travelers to endemic areas of the world are also at increased risk.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The early symptoms usually associated with meningococcal disease
include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, rash, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy, and may resemble the
flu. Because the disease progresses rapidly, often in as little as 12 hours, students are urged to seek
medical care immediately if they experience two or more of these symptoms concurrently. The disease is
HOW SOON DO THE SYMPTOMS APPEAR?
The symptoms may appear two to 10 days after
exposure, but usually within five days.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE?
Antibiotics, such as penicillin G or
ceftriaxone, can be used to treat people with meningococcal disease.
SHOULD PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH A DIAGNOSED CASE OF
MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS BE TREATED?
Only people who have been in close contact
(household members, intimate contacts, health care personnel performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,
day care center playmates, etc.) need to be considered for preventive treatment. Such people are usually
advised to obtain a prescription for a special antibiotic (either rifampin, ciprofloxacin or ceftriaxone) from
their physician. Casual contact as might occur in a regular classroom, office or factory setting is not
usually significant enough to cause concern.
IS THERE A VACCINE TO PREVENT MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS?
Presently, there is a vaccine
that will protect against some of the strains of meningococcus. It is recommended in outbreak situations,
and for those traveling to areas of the world where high rates of the disease are known to occur. For
some college students, such as freshman living in dormitories, there is a modestly increased risk of
meningococcal disease; students and parents should be educated about meningococcal disease and the
availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE VACCINE?
The meningococcal vaccine has been shown to provide
protection against the most common strains of the disease, including serogroups A, C, Y and W-135. The
vaccine has shown to be 85 to 100 percent effective in serogroups A and C in older children and adults.
IS THE VACCINE SAFE? ARE THERE ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS TO THE VACCINE?
The vaccine is
very safe and adverse reactions are mild and infrequent, consisting primarily of redness and pain at the
site of injection lasting up to two days.
WHAT IS THE DURATION OF PROTECTION?
The duration of the meningococcal vaccine’s efficacy is
approximately three to five years.
August 2003. Source: New York State Department of Health Website (Revised March 2003) and the American College
Health Association Website
MENINGITIS INFORMATION RESPONSE FORM
On July 22, 2003, Governor Pataki signed New York State Public Health Law (NYSPHL) 2167 requiring institutions, including colleges and universities, to distribute information about meningococcal disease and vaccination to all students. Stony Brook University requires that all university students complete and return the following form to:
Stony Brook University Student Health Service Infirmary Road Stony Brook, NY 11794-3191 FAX 631-632-6936
Please note that according to NYS Public Health Law, no institution shall permit any student to
attend the institution in excess of 30 days without complying with this law. The 30 day period
may be extended to 60 days if a student can show a good faith effort to comply.
Check one box and sign below.
I have (for students under the age of 18: My child has):
had the meningococcal meningitis immunization (Menomune™or Menactra™) within the past 10 years. Date received:
read, or have had explained to me, the information regarding meningococcal meningitis disease. I
understand the risks of not receiving the vaccine. I have decided that I (my child) will not
immunization against meningococcal meningitis disease.
(Parent / Guardian if student is a minor)
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