Meningococcal Disease (Bacterial Meningitis)
Meningococcal disease is a very serious contagious disease caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitis. The disease is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. Bacterial meningitis moves very quickly through the body and can cause death within a few hours of first noticing symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
- Stiff neck
1 in 7 adolescents and young adults with the disease will die from it. People who survive are likely to have brain damage, hearing loss, limb amputation, or learning disabilities.
Adolescents and young adults are at risk of getting the disease if they live in highly populated or crowded living conditions, such as college dormitories.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends meningococcal vaccine for all children 11-12 years of age with a booster dose at age 16 years. If adolescents get their first dose at 13-15 years of age, they should get a booster at age 16-18 years.
Beginning January 1, 2012, all entering college and university students are required to show proof of an initial meningitis vaccination or a booster dose during the 5-year period before and at least 10 days prior to the 1st day of the 1st semester in which the student initially enrolls at a Texas college or university.
An entering student is defined as 1 of the following:
- A first-time student of a public, private, or independent institution of higher education
- A transfer student
- A student who previously attended an institution of higher education before January 1, 2012, who is enrolling in the same or another institution of higher education following a break in enrollment of at least 1 fall or spring semester
The bacterial meningitis immunization is available at the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department. For any questions regarding the meningitis vaccine, please call the Health Department.
Also available is the Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine for adolescents and adults 16 through 23 years of age. The preferred use for Serogroub B meningococcal vaccine is through 16 to 18 years of age. This is an ACIP Category B recommendation, meaning the recommendation is for individual clinical decision making.