Important Information About Bacterial Meningitis
Important information for all first time students starting ANYTIME AFTER spring 2012:
Beginning January 2012, all first-time students and students who have not attended during the fall or spring semester immediately prior to your admitted semester at any Texas college or university that are under the age of 22 are required to have the bacterial meningitis vaccination or booster. Students will not be able to register until proof of vaccination or booster is on file
Please check our Website on a regular basis for any updates or changes at www.odessa.edu. If you have any questions, please email the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 432.335.6849.
All public colleges and universities in Texas are required by action of the 77th Texas Legislature to notify all new students about bacterial meningitis and the potential health risks from that disease. The following information is provided for all students in compliance with the legislation.
Bacterial meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast – so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Bacteria that cause meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students every year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities.
Due to increased risk for students living in close proximity and as required by the 81st Texas Legislature, all new students moving into on-campus housing facilities in the State of Texas must be vaccinated at least 10 days prior to moving into the residence hall or apartment unit.
What are the symptoms?
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Rash or purple patches on skin
- Light sensitivity
- Stiff neck
- Confusion and sleepiness
There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body.
Increased numbers of symptoms mean higher risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.
How is bacterial meningitis diagnosed?
- Diagnosis is made by a medical provider and is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood tests.
- Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
How is the disease transmitted?
- The disease is transmitted when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing, or by sharing drinking containers, utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, etc.) or come in contact with respiratory or throat secretions.
How do you increase your risk of getting meningitis?
- Exposure to saliva by sharing cigarettes, water bottles, eating utensils, food, kissing, etc.
- Living in close conditions (such as sharing a room/suite in a dorm or group home).
What are the possible consequences of the disease?
- Death (in 8 to 24 hours from perfectly well to dead)
- Permanent brain damage
- Kidney failure
- Learning disability
- Hearing loss, blindness
- Limb damage (fingers, toes, arms, legs) that requires amputation
Can the disease be treated?
- Antibiotic treatment, if received early, can save lives and chances of recovery are increased. However, permanent disability or death can still occur.
- Vaccinations are available and should be considered for:
- Those living in close quarters
- College students 25 years old or younger
- Vaccinations are effective against four of the five most common bacterial types that cause 70 percent of the disease in the U.S. (but do not protect against all types of meningitis).
- Vaccinations take 7-10 days to become effective, with protection lasting 3-5 years.
- The cost of vaccine varies so check with your health care provider.
- Vaccination is very safe – most common side effects are redness and minor pain at the injection site for up to two days.
How do you find out more information?
- Contact your own health care provider.
- Contact the Ector County Health Department at 432- 498-4141.
- Contact Web sites:
Students enrolled in health-related higher education courses that involve direct patient contact with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids in educational, medical, or dental care facilities must comply with state mandated immunization requirements. These requirements are found in Title 25, Chapter 97, Subchapter B of the Texas Administrative Code, amended May 25, 2010.
Students must have the following vaccinations before they can engage in direct patient care activities:
- Tetanus-diphtheria – One dose of tetanus-diphtheria toxoid (Td) is required within the last 10 years. The booster may be in the form of a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis containing vaccine (Tdap).
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccines – A student born on or after January 1, 1957, must show acceptable evidence of vaccination of two doses of measles-containing vaccine administered since January 1, 1968 (preferably MMR vaccine).
- Students born on or after January 1, 1957, must show acceptable evidence of vaccination of one dose of mumps vaccine, usually the MMR vaccine.
- Students must show acceptable evidence of one dose of rubella vaccine, usually the MMR vaccine.
- Hepatitis B Vaccine – Students are required to receive a complete series of hepatitis B vaccine prior to the start of direct patient care or show serological confirmation of immunity to hepatitis B virus.
- Varicella Vaccine – Students are required to have received one dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine on or after the student’s first birthday, or if the first dose was administered on or after the student’s thirteenth birthday, two doses of varicella vaccine are required.
Acceptable evidence of Vaccinations:
- Vaccines administered after September 1, 1991, shall include the month, day, and year each vaccine was administered.
- Documentation of vaccines administered that include the signature or stamp of the physician or his/her designee, or public health personnel, is acceptable.
- An official immunization record generated from a state or local health authority is acceptable.
- An official record received from school officials, including a record from another state, is acceptable.
Serologic confirmations of immunity (laboratory blood testing) to measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or varicella, constitute acceptable documentation for the immunization requirements. Documentation must consist of a valid laboratory report.
The student must complete the required vaccines on schedule in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule as approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Physicians. Students not completing the vaccine requirements on schedule are subject to dismissal from the health occupations program at Odessa College.