Sep 182002
Authors: Melissa Miller

Dorm inhabitants are at a serious risk for meningitis, according to Lisa Dugan, immunization coordinator and nurse specialist at Hartshorn Health Service.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection affecting 100 to 125 college-age kids each year, Dugan said. About 10 percent of those cases result in fatality.

Meningitis is transferred orally, by sharing drinks, cigarettes, etc, which is why those living in dorms are more at risk. Freshmen live in close quarters with one another and may not know they are sick. The disease can be carried for a while without manifesting itself.

Meningitis gets into the spinal cord, causing an infection and fluid and pressure around the brain. About 10 percent of those inflicted can end up with permanent disabilities such as loss of circulation and brain damage.

Symptoms appear flu-like, with fevers, achiness, nausea and tiredness. Some cases involve a stiff-neck, which is a warning sign of meningitis. The highest incidence of this disease occurs in late winter and early spring.

The Hartshorn Health Service is sponsoring an immunization outreach program to students. Meningitis immunizations will be provided to students who can sign up for the shots at the health center.

CSU’s health center has been providing meningitis immunizations since 2000 and hopes to provide awareness to the incoming freshmen, Dugan said. The health center has been visiting various dorms throughout the past week giving shots and handing out brochures and information.

The immunizations last for three to five years; they do not provide 100 percent immunity, they do prevent four out of the five types of meningitis.

The shot costs $80 and can be put on student accounts.

“It’s very safe,” Dugan said.

UNC and CU have each had a case of meningitis in the past two years, though neither was fatal, said Cecelia Nutter, RN at the health center. CSU has not had a reported case of meningitis.

Kelsey Tateyama, a freshman at CSU, received the immunization shot on Tuesday at Corbett Hall.

“It’s something my mom wanted me to do,” said Tateyama, who lives in Corbett, “We’ve known people who have had meningitis.”

Immunization clinics will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at Braiden Hall, at the Durrell Center Sept. 23 and at Edwards Hall Sept. 24. They will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lory Student Center on Sept. 25. The shot will also be provided year-round at Hartshorn.

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