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article on meningitis vaccine

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  • Alley/Pat
    Is this sumthing a hepper should get? ... Meningitis Shots Urged for College Freshmen Reporter: Anna Martinez Updated: Aug 21 at 06:12PM ... Click for
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2001
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      Is this sumthing a hepper should get?
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      Meningitis Shots Urged for College Freshmen
      Reporter: Anna Martinez
      Updated: Aug 21 at 06:12PM


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      Click for Printer-Friendly Version


      DALLAS - Parents of college freshmen have one item to add to their children's list of back to school needs this year: a shot to prevent bacterial meningitis.
      The Centers for Disease Control now recommends a meningitis vaccination for freshmen who will be living in dormitories.

      "This can be a fatal infection, or can even cause permanent disability," said Dr. Alan Kaye, a Dallas internist. "It results in a death rate of 10 percent of all people who are infected, even when they get prompt medical care."

      The vaccine helps to protect against bacterial meningitis, an infection in the brain covering.

      When college freshmen move into dormitories with hundreds of other students in close proximity, Centers for Disease Control studies indicate their chances of contracting meningitis are higher than other young people. That is why the meningitis vaccination is being recommended now.

      About 3,000 cases of mengingitis are reported in this country every year. It normally strikes children and young adults up to the age of 30. Although the chances of getting it are relatively low, the CDC says the chances go down even further with a meningitis shot.

      When Janet Fafrot read about the CDC recommendation, she immediately took her daughter Jennifer to get her shot. Jennifer is a freshman entering Southern Methodist University this semester.

      "There's such a small chance that anything will happen, but it does help to know we are protected," Fafrot said.

      Some colleges are even requiring the shot, which has prompted some insurance companies to add it to their coverage.

      "Whenever something becomes a recommendation from the CDC we do try to quickly review that and determine whether we'd like to cover that," said Kathy Wallace, a registered nurse with the Pacificare health maintenance organization.

      But the CDC wants to warn students and their parents that even the vaccine does not totally eliminate the risk of bacterial meningitis -- it just protects against it.

      In the United States, 10 to 13 percent of patients die despite receiving antibiotics early in the illness. Of those who survive, an additional 10 percent have severe aftereffects, including mental retardation, hearing loss and loss of limbs.

      In protecting college students, the American College Health Association asks that college health services take a more proactive role in alerting students about the dangers of meningitis.

      FOR MORE INFORMATION

      a.. Centers for Disease Control
      Bacterial meningitis questions and answers
      b.. American College Health Association
      Meningococcal disease questions and answers
      c.. Pacificare HMO


      Alley/Pat
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