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Penn State Schuylkill's Meningococcal Vaccination Certification Form for all students living in on-campus housing.

All Penn State students residing in on-campus housing are required by state law to submit a Meningococcal Vaccination Certification form. The state law requiring the vaccination is a part of the College and University Student Vaccination Act. Former Governor Mark Schweiker and the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed the act in June 2002.

The form must be completed prior to check-in. Please download this form HERE and then fill out and submit as directed. You will need to identify compliance through one of the following options:

• You have received a meningococcal vaccination through a health care provider.
• You are electing to choose an exemption which confirms you have read the detailed information on the disease (see next page) and made an informed decision to not receive the meningococcal vaccination.

To move into Nittany Apartments, students who have not yet submitted a form must do so at check-in. Students
are only required to submit the form once.

 

Meningitis Facts

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This condition can be caused by several different organisms including bacteria and viruses.

Signs and Symptoms
• Fever (higher with a bacterial infection)
• Headache
• Neck/back stiffness
• Vomiting
• Eyes sensitive to light
• Mental changes (confusion, lethargy, and fatigue)
• Rash (more common with bacterial infection)

Viral Meningitis
Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis. It can be caused by several different viruses. It can be contagious and occurs more in crowded conditions. Antibiotics are not effective for viral meningitis. Prophylactic treatment is not indicated for people who have come in contact with someone with viral meningitis.

Bacterial Meningitis
Bacterial meningitis is a rare disease, but can be very serious and requires treatment with antibiotics  Meningococcal meningitis is one specific type of bacterial meningitis and it can be associated with grave illness and epidemics. Outbreaks tend to occur in isolated or confined environments. College students often live in close quarters and are found to have an increased risk of meningococcal disease. Investigations of previous college outbreaks also suggest that lifestyle behaviors, such as active and passive smoking, bar patronage and excessive alcohol consumption, increase the risk of contracting this disease. Approximately 20-40% of young adults carry the meningococcal bacteria in the nose and throat in a harmless state. During meningococcal disease outbreaks, the percentage of people carrying the bacterium increases to 95%, but less than 1% of those develop disease. For those who do not get sick, it is believed that a person’s own immune system may be  rotecting them. Meningococcal bacteria cannot live for more than a few minutes outside the body. They are not usually transmitted in water supplies, swimming pools, or by routine contact in classrooms, dining rooms, restrooms or bars. Roommates, friends, spouses, and children who are not directly exposed to an ill meningitis victim are not at risk.

Persons who have had intimate or direct exposure to a meningococcal meningitis patient within seven days are at risk for contracting meningococcal meningitis and should receive prophylactic medication. Intimate or direct exposure includes being touched or kissed, sharing eating utensils, or by droplet contamination from nose, throat, or any secretions or excretions from the body of the infected individual.

How To Decrease Your Risk of Getting Bacterial Meningitis
Meningococcal Vaccine Get the meningococcal vaccine. “Menactra” is effective against four of the five types of the bacteria responsible for meningococcal meningitis in the United States and for the majority of cases in the college age population. A single dose vaccination produces protective antibody levels in 10 to 14 days and protection lasts three to five years. The vaccine has few minor side effects. Redness and swelling may occur at the injection site and 2% of recipients may develop a fever. The vaccine may not protect 100% of all susceptible individuals.

You should not get the vaccine if:
• You are pregnant or suspect that you might be pregnant
• You are allergic to thimerosal, a substance found in several vaccines
• You have an acute illness, with a fever 101°F or higher

A 2002 Pennsylvania law requires all students living in University-owned housing in the state to either be vaccinated against meningococcal disease or sign an exemption.

Immune System Maximize your body’s own immune system response. A lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, adequate sleep, exercise and the avoidance of excessive stress is very important. Avoiding upper respiratory infections and the inhalation of cigarette smoke may help to protect from invasive disease. Everyone should be sensitive to public health measures that decrease exposure to oral secretions, such as covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing hands after contact with oral secretions.

Online Resources
For more information about bacterial meningitis, see the following Web sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Foundation for Infectious Disease

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. This information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.