The recent outbreak of Meningitis B at Princeton University in New Jersey has sparked a lot of fear among college campuses across the country. Students, faculty and staff should be aware that there are many forms of meningitis and that the form in the Princeton case is not common in the United States.
All students living on college campuses, including UMBC, are required to show proof of or sign a waiver to opt out of receiving the vaccination for meningitis. The vaccine given to students in the US protects against four types of bacterial meningitis(A, C, Y and W-135), however, it does not cover the B type.
"Group B meningitis is a strain of the bacterial form of the disease that is rare in the United States. Symptoms can include stiff neck, headache, fever, vomiting, rashes, sensitivity to light and confusion. Untreated, the disease can lead to complications such as hearing impairment, brain damage, limb amputations and death.” - CNN
"Bacterial meningitis is a dangerous infection of the protective membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord, known as the meninges. It is spread through respiratory droplets or secretions exchanged through close contact such as coughing or kissing.” - NBC
The CDC and Princeton officials have approved an emergency importation of a vaccine not yet approved in the US to be offered to the Princeton campus in order to halt the outbreak from spreading further.
UMBC students who have questions about the required vaccines for our campus should refer to the Immunizations page on the UHS website.
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