The University Record, September 4, 2001

Students can receive meningitis vaccinations again this fall

By Joel Seguine
News and Information Services

The University again will offer its students vaccinations against meningococcal meningitis in a series of six clinics beginning Sept. 6.

U-M’s Michigan Visiting Nurses, in conjunction with the University Health Service (UHS), will conduct the clinics at various campus locations.

Locations and times of the clinics are as follows:

  • 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sept. 6 in the lower atrium, Chemistry Building

  • 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sept. 10, in the Pond Room, Michigan Union

  • 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sept.11 in the East Lounge, Bursley Hall

  • 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sept.12 in the main lobby, Mary Markley Hall

  • 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sept.13 in the lower atrium, Chemistry Building

  • 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sept.14 in the main lobby of South Quad

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that incoming college students be educated about meningococcal meningitis and the potential benefits of vaccination based on the increased incidence of the disease in freshmen living in residence halls. Research supporting that recommendation was reported in the Aug. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. It showed that meningococcal disease had the highest incidence among first-year students living in residence halls at 5.1 per 100,000, as compared with 0.7 per 100,000 among all undergraduates and 1.7 per 100,000 in the general population ages 18–23.

    However, while UHS interim director Robert Winfield continues to see no cause for alarm about meningococcal meningitis at the U-M, he did note that “the University recommends that students and their parents become informed about meningococcal vaccination’s potential benefits. While the University does not require meningococcal vaccination for students, we hope that these clinics will make it easier for students to get information or vaccination if they so choose.”

    A notification letter is going out to parents of all incoming students this week, indicating that students or their parents can pre-register and pre-pay via phone or the Internet for the $75 vaccination.

    Meningococcal meningitis is a potentially fatal infection unless treated with antibiotics and other therapies in a timely fashion. Its early symptoms often mimic the flu, so Winfield emphasizes that it is important for students to seek medical care if two or more of these symptoms occur together: high fever, rash, nausea or vomiting, severe headache, neck stiffness, lethargy and sensitivity to light. Both the UHS and the U-M hospital emergency room are prepared to help students with such symptoms. The single-dose vaccine being offered at the special clinics and at UHS protects against the four types of the meningococcus bacteria that cause 70 percent to 80 percent of the meningococcal meningitis disease in the United States. It does not protect against the viral form of the disease, which has similar symptoms but is far less serious. No cases of meningococcal meningitis have occurred on the campus since 1995.

    For more information, visit the UHS Web site, www.uhs.umich.edu, or call the UHS Allergy and Immunization Clinic, (734) 764-8304.