KMZU’s Kristie Cross spoke with Executive Director for the University of Missouri Extension’s Student Health Center and Family Medicine Physician Susan Evens about Meningitis and treatment options that are available.
Meningitis is a rare but serious disease that can be contracted by sharing items that have saliva on them such as drinks or eating utensils. The disease can be bacterial, viral or even fungal.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill requiring students who attend public colleges and universities who live on campus to get vaccinated against meningitis which will take effect July 1, 2015. While there already is legislation on the topic, the new bill says the only way students can opt out of getting the vaccine is a medical waiver or if it’s against religious beliefs.
The vaccine prevents 4 of the 5 types of bacterial meningitis.
Symptoms of the disease include nausea, headache, fever, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and altered mental status (confusion). It is spreads mainly through saliva and Susan Evens urges people to avoid sharing drinks, eating utensils or even cigarettes.
Those most at risk are people who live in close quarters such as military barracks, college dorms, and even young kids at a summer camp.